NASA carbon observatory failure


  • Randy Showstack


Following the crash landing of NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) satellite on 24 February 2008 in the ocean near Antarctica, a 5-member mishap investigation board—led by Rick Obenschain, deputy director at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center—is looking into the cause of the satellite's launch failure. Preliminary indications are that the payload fairing failed to separate from the rocket. The $273 million satellite was to have collected global measurements of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth's atmosphere to help better forecast changes in CO2 levels and their effect on the Earth's climate. The satellite also would have provided information about sinks that absorb and store CO2.