Sunday, March 01, 2009
If it weren't for Google News, you'd never hear about stuff
like this. A failed satellite launch crashed near Antarctica:
WASHINGTON, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- A rocket carrying a NASA
satellite designed to globally track carbon dioxide emissions
crashed into the ocean near Antarctica after launch Tuesday,
The Orbiting Carbon Observatory failed to reach orbit after its
early-morning launch from California's Vandenberg Air Force
Base, the U.S. space agency said.
Preliminary evidence showed that the fairing on the Taurus XL
rocket failed to separate, preventing it from reaching orbit.
The fairing is a clamshell structure that encapsulates the
satellite as it travels through the atmosphere.
The spacecraft landed near Antarctica in the ocean, John
Brunschwyler, project manager for the Taurus XL, told a media
A Mishap Investigation Board will immediately be convened to
determine the cause of the launch failure, a NASA press release
The 278-million-U.S.-dollar spacecraft was slated to launch into
a near-polar, sun-synchronous orbit that would fly about 705 km
above Earth. It was going to measure carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
and to determine what happens to the climate-changing pollutant.
Before the launch, NASA said data from the observatory would reduce
uncertainties in forecasts of how much carbon dioxide is in the
atmosphere and improve the accuracy of global climate change
Carbon dioxide is the leading human-produced greenhouse gas driving
changes in Earth's climate.
Tuesday's failure comes a month after Japan successfully launched the
world's first satellite to monitor global warming emissions.