Wednesday, July 2, 2014

MEET DR. DAVID CRISP AND NASA'S Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 mission (OCO-2)

Good morning all,

I have always used this space to talk about how important it is to reach for that one thing---that impossible dream that seems just out of your reach.  Well today, I would like to introduce you to one of the finest men I have ever known as well as the most amazing dreamer. His strength and determination to see his dream come true will not only affect him but have a profound effect on all of us. 

This is going to be a mouthful so please bare with me. 

Everyone, it is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to the Senior Research Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology and the Principal Investigator of the NASA Earth System Science Pathfinder Orbiting Carbon Observatory mission, my dear older brother, Dr. David Crisp. 

So why am I so excited to host Dave today? Well, because of this:

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 [my brother's dream] has launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, at 2:56 a.m. Pacific Time, July 2, 2014 into the night skies above the Pacific Ocean. The two-year mission will help scientists unravel key mysteries about carbon dioxide!

For a good fourteen years or more, Dave has been dreaming about this day, the launch of NASA'S Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 mission (OCO-2).  He has had more setbacks than anyone deserves, but never once did he give up on this dream. 

The OCO-2 is called the second OCO because on February 24, 2009, due to a launch vehicle payload fairing anomaly, OCO failed to reach orbit and crashed into the ocean. Years of Dave's life sunk into the dark waters. 

After shedding few tears, he and his amazing  team didn't just shut the door and walk away. By the next morning, they were planning to give it another try. Amazing spunk, wouldn't you say? It would take several more years for OCO-2 to become a reality, but that didn't deterred Dave or the many amazing scientist and engineers working on this mission.  

But even when everything is working well, dreams have a way of kicking you in the rear just out of spite it seems. Remember I mentioned above that Dave has experienced more setbacks than anyone should have to go through. Well, Monday, June 30th, everything was looking so wonderful. The OCO-2 was bedded down inside the United Launch Alliance Delta II, all ready for it's journey into orbit.  

Just after midnight on July 1st, countdown had begun and everything was looking perfect until countdown was halted at T-46 seconds.

Are you freak'n kidding me!!!! I wanted to scream to the heavens. I could only imagine what Dave and his team were going through.  Less than a minute to lift-off, the launch attempt was scrubbed because of a failure in a Vandenberg Air Force Base Space Launch Complex 2 pad water system. 


Things have a way of working out in the end. Twenty-four hours later, and after some incredible people worked like crazy to fix the water system problem, the OCO-2 finally launched and everything worked like planned this time around. I have to show it one more time because I just think it is so amazingly beautiful.


This is what the Observatory will look like once it makes orbit. 

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. 

I will not even be try to explain this mission to you, but if you have a few moments, the link below is an JPL von KARMAN Lecture given by Dave on the OCO-2 mission. Dave has a way of explaining the most complicated problems in terms that can be easily followed.

Getting the OCO-2 mission into space was by no means easy. Dreams, I guess, aren't suppose to be easy. Maybe it's the trials we go through reaching the impossible that makes it so worthwhile. Today, a very small part of my brother's dream has been realized. It will take a months for him to see any real data come through and then it will be months, even years of intense work ahead of him---and we will in the end all benefit from his results.

As you can probably guess, Dr. David Crisp and his team are my heroes. They will be working tirelessly to keep our planet healthy and alive for all mankind. And as his sister, I couldn't love him more or be more proud of him and his team. 

So... what do I want you to take away from this? Dream big. It's a waste of time to dream small. AND no matter how bleak it seems at times, please don't give up. Your dreams deserved to have their launch day into space and you deserve to have your moment to shine. 

If you would like to follow this story, you can find more information here:

Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, visit these sites:

 Follow OCO-2 on Twitter at:

And more on Dr. David Crisp, go here:

As always, please be nice to one another and have a wonderful day. 


Nancy C. Weeks 

Author of In the Shadow of Pride- release date 21 July 2014


No comments :

Post a Comment