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|December 17, 2017|
Failure hits NASA's 'CO2 hunter'
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, CA--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. Officials said 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.
The $270m mission was launched on a Taurus XL, the smallest ground-launched rocket currently in use by the US space agency.
Since its debut in 1994, this type of rocket has flown eight times, with six successes and two failures including this launch. But this is the first time NASA has used the Taurus XL.
The US space agency will now put together a "Mishap Investigation Board" to determine the root cause of the problem.
Onlookers watched the launcher soar into the sky from the Vandenberg Air Force Base near Santa Barbara. (Source: BBC)
Story Date: February 25, 2009