The United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket for NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 mission, or OCO-2, is lifted into a vertical position beside the mobile service tower at Space Launch Complex 2 on Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Launch is scheduled for July 1, 2014. The observatory will collect precise global measurements of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere and provide scientists with a better idea of the chemical compound's impacts on climate change. Scientists will analyze this data to improve our understanding of the natural processes and human activities that regulate the abundance and distribution of this important atmospheric gas. To learn more about OCO-2, visit http://oco.jpl.nasa.gov. Photo credit: NASA/Mark Mackley, 30th Space Wing