coxidase (C cO) reduces dioxygen to water and harnesses the chemical energy to drive proton translocation across the inner mitochondrial membrane by an unresolved mechanism. By using time-resolved serial femtosecond crystallography, we identified a key oxygen intermediate of bovine C cO. It is assigned to the PR-intermediate, which is characterized by specific redox states of the metal centers and a distinct protein conformation. The heme a3 iron atom is in a ferryl (Fe4+ = O2−) configuration, and heme aand CuB are oxidized while CuA is reduced. A Helix-X segment is poised in an open conformational state; the heme afarnesyl sidechain is H-bonded to S382, and loop-I-II adopts a distinct structure. These data offer insights into the mechanism by which the oxygen chemistry is coupled to unidirectional proton translocation.