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CO2 monitoring satellite fails to reach orbit


February 24, 2009

NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory and its Taurus booster lift off from Vandenberg Air For...

NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory and its Taurus booster lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base (Image credit: Orbital Sciences Corporation)

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February 25, 2009 In bad news for NASA (and the planet in general), the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) satellite did not reach orbit yesterday. According to a launch contingency briefing from NASA, the Taurus XL from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base at 4:55 a.m. EST proceeded normally, with only typical "minor issues" reported as the rocket approached lift-off, but preliminary indications are that the fairing on the Taurus XL launch vehicle failed to separate as planned.

The spacecraft is believed to have landed in the ocean near Antarctica, said John Brunschwyler, the program manager for the Taurus XL.

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory’s mission was to collect precise global measurements of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth's atmosphere to improve our understanding of the natural processes and human activities that regulate its abundance and distribution.

A Mishap Investigation Board is to determine the cause of the launch failure.

See NASA to view the full OCO Launch Contingency Briefing video.

About the Author
Noel McKeegan After a misspent youth at law school, Noel began to dabble in tech research, writing and things with wheels that go fast. This bus dropped him at the door of a freshly sprouted Gizmag.com in 2002. He has been Gizmag's Editor-in-Chief since 2007.   All articles by Noel McKeegan

Shades of the movie "The Arrival".

Mark Cahill
25th February, 2009 @ 12:13 am PST

"Hey mind if we supply the gyro's?" says Mr Mobil.

"That'd be swell" says Mr Nasa, "wait a second.........what was your name again?"

lol. that sucks.

Craig Jennings
2nd September, 2009 @ 07:29 pm PDT

Yeah it does make you wonder, I'd like to see the statistics on how many environmental satellites have failed to reach orbit... seems like this is the 3rd or 4th I can remember. also stats of environmental montitoring payloads vs other payloads reaching orbit.

Dan K
2nd December, 2009 @ 08:03 am PST

This is one I would have liked to make it. Maybe it would have helped to shoot holes in all this carbon saturation/global warming BS. Even if it is carbon heavy, plants would be delighted as this is a food source for them! It's not the first time in earth's history it's had a lot of carbon airborne!

Will, the tink
20th September, 2011 @ 09:12 pm PDT
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