27 October 2010 The quest for an OCO (Orbiting Carbon Observatory) re-flight
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Abstract
The objective of the OCO (Orbiting Carbon Observatory) mission was to make the first space-based measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide with the accuracy needed to quantify sources and sinks of this important greenhouse gas. Unfortunately, the observatory was lost as a result of a launch vehicle failure on 24 February 2009. The JPS (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) was directed to assess the options for the re-flight of the OCO instrument and recovery of the carbon-related measurement, and to understand and quantitatively asses the cost, schedule, and technical and programmatic risks of the indentified options. The two most likely solutions were (1) a shared platform with the TIRS (Thermal Infrared Sensor) instrument and (2) a dedicated OSC(Orbital Sciences Corporation) LEOStar-2 spacecraft bus similar to the utilized for the original OCO mission. A joint OCO-TIRS mission study was commissioned and two specific options were examined. However, each presented technical challenges that would drive cost. It was determined that the best option was to rebuilt the OCO observatory to the extent possible including another LEOStar-2 spacecraft bus. This lower risk approach leverages the original OCO design and provides the shortest path to launch, which is targeted for no later than February 2013 timeframe.
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Ralph R. Basilio, Ralph R. Basilio, Thomas R. Livermore, Thomas R. Livermore, Y. Janet Shen, Y. Janet Shen, H. Randy Pollock, H. Randy Pollock, } "The quest for an OCO (Orbiting Carbon Observatory) re-flight", Proc. SPIE 7827, Remote Sensing of Clouds and the Atmosphere XV, 78270A (27 October 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.867042; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.867042
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