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NASA awards OU $166 million grant

University of Oklahoma. Photo by Robert H. Taylor

NORMAN, Okla. – The University of Oklahoma announced this week that NASA awarded the university a $166 million grant.

In a news release, the university said it has been awarded a five-year, $166 million grant by NASA to advance understanding of Earth’s natural exchanges of carbon between the land, atmosphere and ocean.

The primary goals of the Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory, led by Berrien Moore, OU Vice President for Weather and Climate Programs, are to monitor plant health and vegetation stress throughout the Americas, and to examine the natural sources and processes that control carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane in the atmosphere.

“To say this is an extraordinary achievement by Dr. Berrien Moore and our research team is an understatement,” said OU President David L. Boren. “The grant is one of the most exceptional in the history of the University and is testimony to the outstanding national stature of our research team. I cannot think of a more exciting way to observe the holiday season than with the announcement of this remarkable grant.”

The mission will launch on a commercial communications satellite to make observations over the Americas from an orbit of approximately 22,000 miles above the equator.

The OU-led geoCARB team will build an advanced payload employing otherwise unused launch and spacecraft capacity to advance science and provide societal benefit.

Mission collaborators include the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, California; SES Government Solutions Company in Reston, Virginia; the Colorado State University in Fort Collins; and NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Colleagues and laboratories from France, Australia and Mexico also are contributing to the project.

Officials with the university said the mission was competitively selected from 15 proposals submitted to the agency’s second Earth Venture – Mission announcement of opportunity for small orbital investigations of the Earth system.