A NASA satellite, scheduled for launch in 2008, that is specifically designed to obtain worldwide measurements of the daily and seasonal distribution of carbon dioxide and the functioning of the carbon cycle, particularly within the context of climatic change. The satellite's sole instrument consists of three high-resolution grating spectrometers, which will obtain measurements in three different modes: nadir, from vertically beneath the satellite; sun glint, for high-precision measurements; and targeted, for observations of a specific site from different orbital positions. It will operate in conjunction with a worldwide network of sites that will provide ground-truth observations. Once in orbit, OCO will become the lead satellite in the Afternoon-Train, and its observations will complement those obtained by the Aqua satellite.
Subjects: Meteorology and Climatology.