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NASA CO2 scan satellite launch fails

Plan to settle carbon debate derailed

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NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) satellite has failed to reach orbit after "problems separating" from its launcher rocket. The space agency describes the launch as "not successful".

NASA has issued a brief statement, saying:

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory failed to reach orbit this morning after a 4:55 a.m. EST liftoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Several minutes into the flight of the Taurus rocket ... the payload fairing failed to separate.

It appears that the satellite didn't achieve any kind of useful trajectory, with NASA describing the mission as "ended".

The two-year OCO plan would have seen the satellite's new spectrometers map atmospheric carbon around the globe to unprecedented levels of accuracy. It was thought that results from the OCO would remove much of the uncertainty and acrimony from the current debate on CO2. ®

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