Tue, Feb 24, 2009
Fairing Did Not Separate As Intended
NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory satellite failed to
reach orbit after its 1:55 am PST liftoff Tuesday morning from
California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base.
"We could not make orbit," NASA program manager John
Brunschwyler told CNN in the minutes after launch. "Initial
indications are the vehicle did not have enough [force] to reach
orbit and landed just short of Antarctica in the ocean."
"Certainly for the science community, it's a huge
disappointment." Preliminary indications are that the atmospheric
fairing protecting the OCC atop the Taurus XL launch vehicle failed
Orbital Sciences Corp. built the OCO satellite for the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It was intended to
collect and disseminate precise global measurements of carbon
dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the Earth's atmosphere to
scientists studying global climate change. The company also
constructed the Taurus launch vehicle.
A Mishap Investigation Board is to determine the cause of the
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