Quick facts about the Orbiting Carbon Observatory:
Length: 6.96 ft (2.12 meters) — approximately the same as the typical wing span of the American Bald Eagle 1.8 -2.3 meters (5.9 – 7.5 ft).
Width (stowed): 3.08 ft (0.94 meters) — a little wider than the girth of the typical American refrigerator.
Weight (spacecraft and science instrument): 499.5 killer rabbits — or 454 kilograms (999 pounds).
Power: 815 watts — runs a small waffle iron, coffee maker, or toaster, but not enough to run a hair dryer, vacuum cleaner or air conditioner — in other words, you could make breakfast, but not look very good while doing it.
Primary science instrument: three-channel grating spectrometer. Don’t ask me what that is. I have no idea. But maybe it has something to do with the solar panel-looking arms sticking out from it.
Instrument Dimensions: 5.3 feet by 1.3 feet by 2 feet (1.6 meters by 0.4 meters by 0.6 meters) — hey, that’s an exact description of me in my golf shoes! Yikes!!! In case of malfunction…
Instrument Weight: One Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphin, or two gorillas — 288 pounds (131 kilograms). Whew! Not a description of me, not even close.
Launch: No earlier than July 1, 2014, at 2:56:44 a.m. PDT (5:56:44 a.m. EDT) — and no later than 2:57:14 a.m. PDT (5:57:14 a.m. EDT) — from Launch Complex 2 West (SLC-2W), Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
Launch Window: 30 seconds daily — this means that if they miss the 30-second window, they must wait for the same 30 seconds the next day to attempt it again. This is because the OCO-2 has a precise place along the “A-train” of 17 satellites passing a certain point of the earth at an exact time each day. This is not a random firing, people! This is 30 seconds of man’s highest intelligence and the poetry of the universe coming together.
Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta II 7320-10.
Primary Mission: Two years Orbit Path: Near-polar, sun-synchronous, 438 miles (705 kilometers), orbiting Earth once every 98.8 minutes and repeating the same ground track every 16 days.
Orbital Inclination: 98.2 degrees — don’t ask. I don’t know what this means.
NASA Investment: $467.7 million (design, development, launch and operations) — the same price as the Paris Marriott Hotel Champs-Elysees, which a Chinese investor recently agreed to buy for 344.5 million euros ($648 million).
Wow. That’s a lot of money.
If I had $648 million, I would . . .
Well, I wouldn’t be leaving my house at 3:45 a.m. tomorrow morning to sit in coach class without any food for six hours on a commercial flight to California, that’s for sure! I’d blast off in my own private Delta II rocket!!!
See you at the launch 🙂 !!!