Press Release

NASA’s OCO-2 Observatory Ready for Launch

By SpaceRef Editor
June 16, 2014
Filed under , ,
NASA’s OCO-2 Observatory Ready for Launch

The launch of NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 mission (OCO-2) at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in California, is scheduled for Tuesday, July 1.  Liftoff from Space Launch Complex 2 aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket is targeted for 2:56 a.m. PDT (5:56 a.m. EDT) at the opening of a 30-second launch window.

OCO-2 is NASA’s first mission dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide, the leading human-produced greenhouse gas driving changes in Earth’s climate. OCO-2 will provide a new tool for understanding the human and natural sources of carbon dioxide emissions and the natural “sinks” that absorb carbon dioxide and help control its buildup.

The observatory will measure the global geographic distribution of these sources and sinks and study their changes over time.

The spacecraft’s final circular polar orbit will be 438 nautical miles (705 kilometers) at an inclination of 98.2 degrees.


News media desiring accreditation for the prelaunch and launch activities of OCO-2 should contact:

Tech Sgt. Vincent Mouzon
30th Space Wing Public Affairs Office
Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA 93437

Telephone: 805-606-3595
Fax: 805-606-4571

Information required for U.S. media is full legal name, date of birth and media affiliation.  A legal photo identification will be required upon arrival at Vandenberg. The date for foreign news media to apply for accreditation has passed.



Sunday, June 29:  The prelaunch news conference and mission science briefing will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. PDT (7 to 9 p.m. EDT) in the second floor conference room of the NASA Vandenberg Resident Office, Building 840, at Vandenberg Air Force Base.  The briefing will be carried live on NASA Television and streamed on with question-and-answer capability available from other NASA field centers. Media also can post questions via Twitter by using the hashtag #AskNASA during the briefings. 

Media desiring to cover the event should meet at the south gate of VAFB on California State Road 246 at 3:30 p.m. to be escorted by 30th Space Wing Public Affairs to the news conference.

Participants in the prelaunch news conference will be:

Betsy Edwards, OCO-2 Program Executive
NASA Headquarters

Tim Dunn, NASA Launch Manager
Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Vernon Thorp, Program Manager, NASA Missions
United Launch Alliance, Denver, Colorado

Ralph Basilio, OCO-2 Project Manager
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, California

Lt. Joseph Round, Launch Weather Officer, 30th Operations Support Squadron
Vandenberg Air Force Base, California


An OCO-2 Mission Science Briefing will be held immediately following the prelaunch news conference. Presenting the mission science objectives will be:

Ken Jucks, OCO-2 Program Scientist
NASA Headquarters

David Crisp, OCO-2 Science Team Leader

Annmarie Eldering, OCO-2 Deputy Project Scientist

A post-launch news conference with OCO-2 mission officials also will be held at 5:30 a.m. PDT (8:30 a.m. EDT) on Tuesday, July 1, approximately 2.5 hours after launch.



Monday, June 30:  Media desiring to establish sound-activated remote cameras at the launch pad should meet at the pass and identification building located at the Vandenberg main gate on California State Road 1 at 9:30 a.m. to be escorted to Space Launch Complex 2.



Monday, June 30: There will be an opportunity for the media to photograph the Delta II with OCO-2 during rollback of the mobile service tower at the launch pad. Media should be at the pass and identification building at the Vandenberg main gate on California State Road 1 at 3 p.m. in preparation for going to Space Launch Complex 2. Photographers should be aware that first motion of tower rollback is targeted for 4 p.m. but does not always occur exactly as scheduled.

Those wishing to attend should confirm their participation with Tech. Sgt. Vincent Mouzon in the 30th Space Wing Public Affairs office at 805-606-3595.


Tuesday, July 1:  Media covering the OCO-2 launch aboard the Delta II rocket should meet at 1:45 a.m. at the Vandenberg main gate located on California State Road 1 to be escorted to the press viewing site. Press credentials and identification from a bona fide news organization will be required for access. A driver’s license alone will not be sufficient.

After launch, media will be escorted back to the main gate. Media interested in participating in the OCO-2 post-launch news conference will be escorted to NASA Building 840 on south Vandenberg. Observatory and mission officials will provide the spacecraft status and discuss its state of health.  The event will begin at 5:30 a.m. PDT (8:30 a.m. EDT) and will be carried live on NASA Television.


NASA Television will carry the prelaunch news conference and mission science briefing starting at 4 p.m. PDT (7 p.m. EDT) on Sunday, June 29. The prelaunch news conference also will be webcast at:

On launch day, July 1, NASA TV launch commentary coverage of the countdown will begin at 12:45 a.m. PDT (3:45 a.m. EDT). Launch is targeted for 2:56 a.m. PDT (5:56 a.m. EDT). The flight azimuth of the Delta II after liftoff will be196 degrees. Spacecraft separation from the rocket occurs 56 minutes,15 seconds after launch. 

For information on receiving NASA TV, go to:



Audio only of the press conference and the launch coverage will be carried on the NASA “V” circuits, which may be accessed by dialing 321-867-1220, -1240, -1260 or -7135. On launch day, “mission audio,” the launch conductor’s countdown activities without NASA TV launch commentary, will be carried on 321-867-7135 starting at 12:15 a.m. PDT (3:15 a.m. EDT). 


Extensive prelaunch and launch day coverage of the liftoff of OCO-2 aboard the Delta II rocket will be available on NASA’s home page at:

A prelaunch webcast for the OCO-2 mission will be streamed on NASA’s website at noon PDT (3 p.m. EDT) on Monday, June 30. To view the webcast and the countdown blog or to learn more about the OCO-2 mission, visit:


Join the conversation and follow the OCO-2 mission online by using #OCO2 on Twitter at:

Throughout the launch countdown, the NASA Launch Services Program and NASA JPL Twitter and Facebook accounts will be continuously updated at:

Launch coverage of the Delta II/OCO-2 countdown activities will be available on the NASA website by going to the NASA home page at:

Live countdown coverage on NASA’s launch blog begins at 12:45 a.m. PDT (3:45 a.m. EDT).  Coverage features real-time updates of countdown milestones, as well as streaming video clips highlighting launch preparations and liftoff. For questions about countdown coverage, contact Nancy Bray at 321-867-9112.


The OCO-2 and Delta II News Center at the NASA Vandenberg Resident Office will open Thursday, June 26. To speak with a NASA communications specialist, call 805-605-3051 beginning at that time.  A recorded launch status report also will be available by dialing 805-734-2693.

JPL is responsible for project management of OCO-2.  Orbital Sciences Corp. built the OCO-2 spacecraft. NASA’s Launch Services Program at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida provides launch management.  United Launch Alliance of Centennial, Colorado, is NASA’s launch service provider of the Delta II rocket.


SpaceRef staff editor.