Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Orbiting Carbon Observatory crashes

Well, this is unfortunate.

The mission was to have been Nasa's first dedicated CO2 mapper (Nasa)

Nasa's first dedicated mission to measure carbon dioxide from space has failed following a rocket malfunction.

Officials said the fairing - the part of the rocket which covers the satellite on top of the launcher - did not separate properly.

Data indicates the spacecraft crashed into the ocean near Antarctica.

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) was intended to help pinpoint the key locations on our planet's surface where CO2 is being emitted and absorbed.

Nasa officials confirmed the loss of the satellite at a press conference held at 1300 GMT.  

John Brunschwyler, from Orbital Sciences Corporation, the rocket's manufacturer, told journalists: "Our whole team, at a very personal level, is very disappointed in the events of this morning."

He added: "The fairing has considerable weight relative to the portion of the vehicle that's flying. So when it separates off, you get a jump in acceleration. We did not have that jump in acceleration.

"As a direct result of carrying that extra weight, we could not make orbit."

Failure hits Nasa's 'CO2 hunter'

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