New satellite built by AZ company arrives at launch facility in - Tucson News Now

New satellite built by AZ company arrives at launch facility in CA

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An Arizona company's satellite is now in California getting ready for launch.  

NASA commissioned Orbital Sciences Corporation in Gilbert, AZ to build a new satellite designed to make precise measurements of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere.

This week the satellite traveled from Gilbert to Vandenberg Air Force Base in CA, arriving on Wednesday.

The new satellite is called the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2).  

According to NASA this "mission dedicated to studying carbon dioxide, a critical component of Earth's carbon cycle that is the leading human-produced greenhouse gas driving changes in Earth's climate."

This satellite is a replacement for another similar one lost to a launch mishap in February 2009.

OCO-2 will give scientists "a new tool for understanding both the sources of carbon dioxide emissions and the natural processes that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and how they are changing over time. Since the start of the Industrial Revolution more than 200 years ago, the burning of fossil fuels, as well as other human activities, have led to an unprecedented buildup in this greenhouse gas, which is now at its highest level in at least 800,000 years. Human activities have increased the level of carbon dioxide by more than 25 percent in just the past half century."  

Since carbon dioxide is one of the greenhouse gasses in the Earth's atmosphere, a change in the amount can impact long-term temperatures trends.  

Launch is scheduled for July 1, 2014. 

For more information about the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, visit:

http://oco.jpl.nasa.gov and http://www.nasa.gov/oco-2


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