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9 October 2008 The Orbiting Carbon Observatory: NASA's first dedicated carbon dioxide mission
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The Orbiting Carbon Observatory is scheduled for launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in January 2009. This Earth System Science Pathfinder (ESSP) mission carries and points a single instrument that incorporates 3 high-resolution grating spectrometers designed to measure the absorption of reflected sunlight by near-infrared carbon dioxide (CO2) and molecular oxygen bands. These spectra will be analyzed to retrieve estimates of the column-averaged CO2 dry air mole fraction, XCO2. Pre-flight qualification and calibration tests completed in early 2008 indicate that the instrument will provide high quality XCO2 data. The instrument was integrated into the spacecraft, and the completed Observatory was qualified and tested during the spring and summer of 2008, in preparation for delivery to the launch site in the fall of this year. The Observatory will initially be launched into a 635 km altitude, near-polar orbit. The on-board propulsion system will then raise the orbit to 705 km and insert OCO into the Earth Observing System Afternoon Constellation (A-Train). The first routine science observations are expected about 45 days after launch. Calibrated spectral radiances will be archived starting about 6 months later. An exploratory XCO2 product will be validated and then archived starting about 3 months after that.
© (2008) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
D. Crisp "The Orbiting Carbon Observatory: NASA's first dedicated carbon dioxide mission", Proc. SPIE 7106, Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites XII, 710604 (9 October 2008);

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