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NASA’s ‘Carbon Hunter’ Lands In The Drink

From SPACE.com:

NASA Satellite to Map Carbon Dioxide Suffers Launch Failure

By Tariq Malik
24 February 2009

NASA’s new Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO), a satellite dedicated to mapping Earth’s carbon dioxide levels, failed to reach orbit early Tuesday due to a serious malfunction that prevented the spacecraft’s protective shroud from separating properly.

The glitch occurred just minutes after the $273.4 million spacecraft blasted off at 4:55 a.m. EST (0955 GMT) atop a Taurus XL rocket that launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

"The OCO spacecraft did not achieve orbit successfully in a way that we could have a mission," said NASA launch commentator George Diller…

Diller said that current data suggests that the Taurus XL rocket’s payload fairing, a nose-mounted shroud that protects the spacecraft inside from the Earth’s atmosphere until the booster reaches space, failed to separate properly.

"It appears we were getting indications the fairing was having problems separating," Diller said. "It either did not separate or did not separate in the way that it should."

The 972-pound (441-kg) OCO spacecraft was NASA’s first satellite built exclusively to map carbon dioxide levels on Earth and understand how humanity’s contribution of the greenhouse gas is affecting global climate change. The satellite carried a single three-channel spectrometer to make its detailed measurements.

NASA engineers are currently studying date from OCO’s launch telemetry and are trying to assess the spacecraft’s current location and health. The satellite was slated to launch into a near-polar, sun-synchronous orbit that would fly about 438 miles (705 km) above Earth.

"We’re still trying to evaluate exactly what the status of the spacecraft is at this point, and confirm the location and the orbit and exact state that the spacecraft is in," Diller said. "Right now, we do know that we have not had a successful launch tonight, we will not be able to have an OCO mission." …

Alas, more recent reports confirm that the satellite failed to achieve orbit and landed in the ocean near Antarctica.

Perhaps it’s an omen.

What is the “carbon footprint” of a space launch anyway?

The 972-pound (441-kg) OCO spacecraft was NASA’s first satellite built exclusively to map carbon dioxide levels on Earth and understand how humanity’s contribution of the greenhouse gas is affecting global climate change.

We thought all of this was long since established “science.” Isn’t that what we are told on an hourly basis?

Luckily for NASA, there are billions more for this boondoggle on its way via the “stimulus” bill, courtesy of the US taxpayer.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, February 24th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

24 Responses to “NASA’s ‘Carbon Hunter’ Lands In The Drink”

  1. catie says:

    When Al Gore starts riding his bike, sells all but one home, sells his boat, and rids himself of a private jet, I may begin to take these folks seriously. But until then I don’t.

  2. BillK says:

    Ob. Conspiracy Theory:

    The satellite failed, lest its readings show CO2 is harmless.

  3. BannedbytheTaliban says:

    Had this happened under Bush’s watch the eco nuts would have cried foul. It would have been part of the vast right-winged conspiracy to destroy the Earth and protect big oil. Of course the entire program was sanctioned by and carried out under the Bush administration. And like many things to come, there was a failure to launch under Obama’s leadership. But for a minute I’ll pretend to be as vapid as the other side and live as they do: perhaps Bush was launching the satellite to de-bunk global warming dogma and Obama knew it would hurt his “green economy” doctrine. CONSPIRACY!!!

  4. proreason says:

    anybody know how many affirmative actions engineers on this one?

  5. Chinnubie says:

    Bill K & Proreason are right on this one. This would have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that all of this man-made carbon production is nothing but a bunch of bunk.

    To have the audacity to think man can come along and destroy this planet is complete nonsense. We couldn’t do it if we wanted to. What I could do with the money that is being wasted on so-called global-warming.

  6. Confucius says:

    “What is the “carbon footprint” of a space launch anyway?”

    Maybe the rocket was a hybrid.

    I hope it hit a polar bear on the way down.

    • Colonel1961 says:

      Apparently, it fell into the ocean, so no polar bears were injured during the ‘parabolic launch’ of this satellite. Of course, there aren’t any polar bears in the Antarctic region to begin with…

      I wonder, however, if the MSM will express outrage that one hundred pounds of extremely toxic hydrazine have been dumped into the precious ocean?

    • Confucius says:

      Thanks Colonel1961.

      Correction: I hope it a baby seal on the way down. Maybe even an eco-terrorist.

    • Confucius says:

      Another tidbit from http://www.timesonline.co.uk:

      “Chuck Dovale, Nasa’s flight director,said that all the evidence suggested that every stage of the rocket burnt up during the ascent, meaning that there was no environmental threat from the hydrazine.”

  7. proreason says:

    global warmacists read this:

    “In 2007, it was learned that the placement of temperature stations across the U.S. had skewed readings. Equipment at a site in Oregon was found to be just 10 feet from an air conditioning exhaust vent. The sensor at another Oregon station is located on a rooftop near an air conditioning unit. A Tahoe, Calif., station is located next to a drum where trash is burned.

    A volunteer group has found that 69% of the 807 stations it has rated (of the 1,221 U.S. Historical Climatological Network stations) are located less than 12 yards from an artificial heating source; 11% are located “next to/above an artificial heating source, such a building, roof top, parking lot or concrete surface.”

    Most interesting is a comparison between two California stations located within 40 miles of each other. The station in Orland is isolated from man-made influences and has recorded falling temperatures since the late 19th century. Meanwhile, the Marysville station, once in a remote area but now surrounded by artificial heat sources, has shown increases in temperatures over a similar period.”


    Leave the CEO’s alone. Shoot the propagandists / politicians.

  8. grits says:

    “What is the ‘carbon footprint’ of a space launch anyway?”

    My exact thought.

    But they’ll get a chunk of the porkulous for a re-do, while intellectually honest scientists can’t keep a job.

  9. Grassy Knoll says:

    I think it was a successful launch. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) satellite has found a great source of carbon: the ocean, which acts as the largest natural carbon dioxide sink. It just couldn’t help itself.

  10. MinnesotaRush says:

    How poetic that this mission go awry. Doesn’t it kinda draw an uncanny comparison .. illustration .. to o-blah-blah and this administration??? A whole lot of noise and friction .. tons of money thrown at it .. no real or effective mission .. and then – pffffffffffft .. no meaningful results or outcome!

  11. GuppyNblue says:

    NASA compromised their science when they started advocating the GW scam. The man who led them into it, James Hansen, took big money from George Soros’ “politicization of science” program. And now they can’t even put a satellite in orbit. They could benefit by researching what Ford Foundation money did to our universities.

  12. Colonel1961 says:

    A quote from the ‘Fact Sheet’: ‘…OCO provides space-based observations of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), the principal anthropogenic driver of climate change.’ Or, as I would say: petitio principii…

    p.s. it was two-and-a-half years behind schedule and $100.0M over budget.

  13. DGA says:

    I say the taxpayers need to not put any more money into NASA as a whole organisation, until they fire James Hansen. Well, that would be possible in a republic, but now this quasi socialist/ communist wannabe deal, we have as close to zero rights left. Anyway, that failed satellite was probably rigged to give out swayed data like all their other recording stations are.

    • Colonel1961 says:

      I can tell you that the instrument was not rigged (the satellite itself is merely a ‘dumb’ bus) in any manner. Nor am I sure you could even rig a spectrometer, HgCdTe and Si focal planes, or the baffles.

      If you think the down-linked data is pre-programmed or manipulated in any way – on this or any other scientific satellite – then I feel very sorry for you…

  14. todamndumb says:

    does any else find it overly coicidental that the only two taurus rocket failures were of an ozone monitor and a carbon dioxide monitor

  15. pinandpuller says:

    I think that they launched it too close to a heat source.

    Wow, I wonder how long it will be till the first abortion is performed in space?

  16. brad says:

    HUZZAH! We saved the planet! The HUGE carbon footprint it took to create this thing will not be repeated! Just think of all the carbon dioxide wasted:

    The fuel to bring the scientists to work every day.
    The fuel to make the fuel.
    The carbon footprint they emitted, existing during that time.
    The carbon emitted to make the satellite plastic, metal, computer parts.
    The carbon emitted hauling those parts.
    The carbon burned during launch.
    The carbon burned upon re-entry into our atmosphere.
    The fuel and energy spent picking up all the broken parts.

    This is as big of a waste of time, as those nitwit activists on the discovery channel, who found a special wrap, and actually tried to save a glacier by wrapping it with this stuff. (yes, a gigantic glacier! –Fools!) Go here to part 1:10 and listen to this guy’s ultimate goal of shrink-wrapping melt-zones.
    *Hey buddy, ever see the video of Pangea? The earth changes and moves around….a lot!

  17. TDoc says:

    Shouldn’t we be glad NASA is finally gearing towards some projects more meaningful to the Earth than boasting our outer space competence to other countries?

    This video (http://www.newsy.com/videos/launch_fails_for_nasa) has a quote from Gene Cernan: “It just blows my mind what they would do to an organization like NASA that was designed and built to explore the unknown. We have other agencies, environmental groups and oil companies, auto companies and T. Boone Pickens to figure out how we can survive and save the world.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think the fact that you had been out there shouldn’t make you less concerned about the planet you LIVE IN…

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