Vandenberg AFB Launch Schedule
updated: Jul 03, 2014, 8:18 AM
Source: Launch Alert
Date ----- Launch Time/Window (PST/PDT) ----- Vehicle ----- Pad/Silo
AUG 13 ----- 11:29 ----- Atlas V ----- SLC-3E
Vehicle will launch the WorldView 3 earth imaging satellite
NOV 5 ----- 06:16-06:25 ----- Delta II ----- SLC-2W
Vehicle will launch the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite.
Launch window occurs just after sunrise
The above schedule is a composite of unclassified information
approved for public release from government, industry, and other
sources. It represents the Editor's best effort to produce a schedule,
but may disagree with other sources. Details on military launches are
withheld until they are approved for public release. For official
information regarding Vandenberg AFB activities, go to
All launch dates and times are given in Pacific Time using a 24-hour
format similar to military time (midnight = 00:00, 1:00 p.m. = 13:00,
11:00 p.m. = 23:00, etc.).
The dates and times in this schedule may not agree with those on other
online launch schedules, including the official Vandenberg AFB
schedule because different sources were used, the information was
interpreted differently, and the schedules were updated at different
If any of you saw this morning's Delta II / OCO-2 launch, the editor
would like your comments and observations.
NASA LAUNCHES NEW CARBON-SENSING MISSION TO MONITOR EARTH'S BREATHING
NASA News Release
2014 July 2
NASA successfully launched its first spacecraft dedicated to studying
atmospheric carbon dioxide at 2:56 a.m. PDT (5:56 a.m. EDT) Wednesday.
The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) raced skyward from
Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on a United Launch Alliance
Delta II rocket. Approximately 56 minutes after the launch, the
observatory separated from the rocket's second stage into an initial
429-mile (690-kilometer) orbit. The spacecraft then performed a series
of activation procedures, established communications with ground
controllers and unfurled its twin sets of solar arrays. Initial
telemetry shows the spacecraft is in excellent condition.
OCO-2 soon will begin a minimum two-year mission to locate Earth's
sources of and storage places for atmospheric carbon dioxide, the
leading human-produced greenhouse gas responsible for warming our
world and a critical component of the planet's carbon cycle.
"Climate change is the challenge of our generation," said NASA
Administrator Charles Bolden. "With OCO-2 and our existing fleet of
satellites, NASA is uniquely qualified to take on the challenge of
documenting and understanding these changes, predicting the
ramifications, and sharing information about these changes for the
benefit of society."
OCO-2 will take NASA's studies of carbon dioxide and the global carbon
cycle to new heights. The mission will produce the most detailed
picture to date of natural sources of carbon dioxide, as well as their
"sinks" -- places on Earth's surface where carbon dioxide is removed
from the atmosphere. The observatory will study how these sources and
sinks are distributed around the globe and how they change over time.
"This challenging mission is both timely and important," said Michael
Freilich, director of the Earth Science Division of NASA's Science
Mission Directorate in Washington. "OCO-2 will produce exquisitely
precise measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations near
Earth's surface, laying the foundation for informed policy decisions
on how to adapt to and reduce future climate change."
Carbon dioxide sinks are at the heart of a longstanding scientific
puzzle that has made it difficult for scientists to accurately predict
how carbon dioxide levels will change in the future and how those
changing concentrations will affect Earth's climate.
"Scientists currently don't know exactly where and how Earth's oceans
and plants have absorbed more than half the carbon dioxide that human
activities have emitted into our atmosphere since the beginning of the
industrial era," said David Crisp, OCO-2 science team leader at NASA's
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. "Because of
this we cannot predict precisely how these processes will operate in
the future as climate changes. For society to better manage carbon
dioxide levels in our atmosphere, we need to be able to measure the
natural source and sink processes."
Precise measurements of the concentration of atmospheric carbon
dioxide are needed because background levels vary by less than two
percent on regional to continental scales. Typical changes can be as
small as one-third of one percent. OCO-2 measurements are designed to
measure these small changes clearly.
During the next 10 days, the spacecraft will go through a checkout
process and then begin three weeks of maneuvers that will place it in
its final 438-mile (705-kilometer), near-polar operational orbit at
the head of the international Afternoon Constellation, or "A-Train,"
of Earth-observing satellites. The A-Train, the first multi-satellite,
formation flying "super observatory" to record the health of Earth's
atmosphere and surface environment, collects an unprecedented quantity
of nearly simultaneous climate and weather measurements.
OCO-2 science operations will begin about 45 days after launch.
Scientists expect to begin archiving calibrated mission data in about
six months and plan to release their first initial estimates of
atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations in early 2015.
The observatory will uniformly sample the atmosphere above Earth's
land and waters, collecting more than 100,000 precise individual
measurements of carbon dioxide over Earth's entire sunlit hemisphere
every day. Scientists will use these data in computer models to
generate maps of carbon dioxide emission and uptake at Earth's surface
on scales comparable in size to the state of Colorado. These
regional-scale maps will provide new tools for locating and
identifying carbon dioxide sources and sinks.
OCO-2 also will measure a phenomenon called solar-induced
fluorescence, an indicator of plant growth and health. As plants
photosynthesize and take up carbon dioxide, they fluoresce and give
off a tiny amount of light that is invisible to the naked eye.
Because more photosynthesis translates into more fluorescence,
fluorescence data from OCO-2 will help shed new light on the uptake of
carbon dioxide by plants
OCO-2 is a NASA Earth System Science Pathfinder Program mission
managed by JPL for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
Orbital Sciences Corporation in Dulles, Virginia, built the spacecraft
bus and provides mission operations under JPL's leadership. The
science instrument was built by JPL, based on the instrument design
co-developed for the original OCO mission by Hamilton Sundstrand in
Pomona, California. NASA's Launch Services Program at NASA's Kennedy
Space Center in Florida is responsible for launch management.
Communications during all phases of the mission are provided by NASA's
Near Earth Network, with contingency support from the Space Network.
Both are divisions of the Space Communications and Navigation program
at NASA Headquarters. JPL is managed for NASA by the California
Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
For more information about OCO-2, visit:
OCO-2 is the second of five NASA Earth science missions scheduled to
launch into space this year, the most new Earth-observing mission
launches in one year in more than a decade. NASA monitors Earth's
vital signs from land, air and space with a fleet of satellites and
ambitious airborne and ground-based observation campaigns. NASA
develops new ways to observe and study Earth's interconnected natural
systems with long-term data records and computer analysis tools to
better see how our planet is changing. The agency shares this unique
knowledge with the global community and works with institutions in the
United States and around the world that contribute to understanding
and protecting our home planet.
For more information about NASA's Earth science activities in 2014,
Follow OCO-2 on Twitter at:
More information: http://www.spacearchive.info/newsletter.htm
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