back to article NASA CO2 scan satellite launch fails

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 …


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  1. Craig McLean
    Black Helicopters

    And, let the conspiracy lunacy commence!

    How long before this is blamed on some shady group attempting to cover up "TEH REEL EFFEKT OF CO2 ON TEH ENVYRUMENTZ!!!1"?

  2. John Robson Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Let's watch

    the conspiracy theories roll in...

    Shame though - would have been an interesting survey

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And... cue conspiracy theorists

    I am taking the euphemism "ended" for my own private use

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Sabotage ?

    Clearly a case of sabotage by eco - nutters worried that NASA is about to prove conclusively that man - made climate change does not exist.

  5. Steve Ives
    Paris Hilton

    Who was in charge of the risk analysis?

    According to figures on the BBC website (, NASA entrusted a $270m satellite to a rocket with a 25% failure rate.


    Paris, coz....rockets, big bangs, etc etc

  6. Steven Raith

    Conspiracy theorists, enter....



    Steven R

  7. Albert Gonzalez
    Black Helicopters

    Conspiracy theories

    Now we just have to know who killed the bird:

    a) Oil Industry not wanting the truth be known.

    Obviously, the don't want to have to change their bussines model.

    b) 'Green' saviors not wanting the truth be known.

    Obviously, they don't want loose the power and the grants now enjoy.

    In either case, a loss for the rest of us, who want true unbiased data to make OUR OWN decisions.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yeh right...

    ..." We "tried" to prove that we (the U.S.) don't produce as much C02 as you (the rest of the world) think but it just so happens our satellite broke, oh well, what a shame!"

  9. g e


    Nuff said I think ;o)

  10. Richard
    Black Helicopters


    Surely someone's thinking government sabotage?

    For what its worth, I don't think it was. Just a case of "ah sh*t... something went wrong". But if it turned out it was an attempt to prevent the public from knowing the truth, I wouldn't be surprised in the least.

    -- Richard

  11. Joe K
    Thumb Down

    Sceptics win again

    The Bush Brigade can now keep their heads in the sand another decade or two.

  12. Martin Lyne

    Score another for the septics

    NeoCon/Big-oil sat-fiddling shocker.

    But seriously, I hate to hear space things failing, all those years of work.

  13. Pantelis

    Well what happened to it?

    The article talks about the failure to reach orbit but it does not clarify whether the payload was destroyed or whether it was salvaged (if that is possible). Regardless of what happened to the payload though, this should keep conspiracy theorists happy and busy for a while!

  14. Tom
    Thumb Down

    A bit convieniant?

    Although I know a lot of space launches do go wrong, it all seems a little convieniant that the launch of a satellite, the results from which would most likely see a lot of prominent and powerful Americans end up with egg on their faces, has gone wrong!

  15. Aaron

    So which conspiracy did OCO in?

    Come on, we all know that payload fairings don't fail to separate by accident, don't we.

  16. Lionel Baden

    irony much ?

    What a waste of fuel, therefore polluting


  17. Simon Neill


    Is this a case of "slap the thing on a new rocket and try again" or a case of scoop it into a bucket and rebuild?

  18. Bassey

    How convenient

    How convenient! NASA, one of the main sponsors of the man-made climate change hypothesis, has "accidentally" destroyed an instrument designed to provide actual hard evidence - rather than man-made models and wet-finger guess work.

  19. Alex Wright
    Black Helicopters

    Dodgy as hell.

    Maybe someone in America doesn't want people to know about all the CO2 emissions?

  20. Ross Fleming


    Well that was their first mistake, using a train to put a satelite in orbit

  21. Andus McCoatover

    From Nasa's website

    "Five things about the Orbiting Carbon Observatory"

    UPDATE "Er, make that six..."

  22. Joe
    Thumb Down

    One word....


  23. Dick Emery


    And I was so looking forward to nerr nerring those global warming doom and gloom mongers!

    They should have gone with the French space agency. They know how to launch rockets.

    NASA = Not Another Shuttle Accident

  24. FathomsDown


    What was the carbon footprint of the project and launch?

    - Mine is the one with the vague paranoia thermometer in the pocket (one end marked cool, the other end marked "Global warming - End of the world!").

  25. Tom

    Perhpas NASA

    Needs to spend less time consulting with the high priests of Gaia and more time studying their rocket science.

  26. Richard
    Thumb Down


    I'm sure I'm not the only person who posted a comment in your last article on the launch, saying that this had happened, which haven't shown up in said article. Admit it, you were on your lunch break and didn't want to look stupid.

  27. dervheid

    "Plan to settle carbon debate derailed"

    Even if the launch had been a success, I very much doubt that the results garnered from this would have done anything of the sort.

    Fuelled the fire considerably, more like.

    After all, AFAIK, it's (or rather was) only capable of a 'here and now' set of readings.

    Unless NASA have cracked time-travel...

    Of course, I could be wrong...

  28. Nils Hormel

    Just wait till they find the satellite

    in some gov't warehouse.

  29. Tom Richardson


    What happens to the satellite, does it fall back to earth now or what?

  30. Gary Turner

    What would it prove?

    I don't see how that would end any arguments. CO2 is not a pollutant, nor does it drive temperature. It is the other way around, temperature driving atmospheric CO2. The world is CO2 impoverished compared to historic geologic levels. The two most bio-diverse eras were the Cambrian and Permian, where CO2 levels were ten and seven and a half times current levels, respectively.

  31. Alistair
    Black Helicopters

    All these conspiricy theories are wrong

    It was obviously shot down by the lizard alliance, who were about to be rumbled for their nefarious jungle-based wind-farm experiments..

  32. Anonymous John

    @ Well what happened to it?

    It landed in the ocean off Antarctica. Insufficient power to reach orbit with the payload shroud still attached.

    Penguin as some of them may have seen it crash.

  33. Anonymous Coward


    I don't think they were using a railway.

    They said "Taurus". Which means they tried to get it into space using a Ford SUV. Even with 100km to play with they couldn't get a gentle enough corner for it to go round...

  34. Sumner R Andrews Jr

    No Title

    This is a great shame. There is a better way at far less cost.

    Governments should make the Scentilla Perk Kit freely available to pc users to monitor CO2 emissions on a real time basis. This information could be piped into an independent web site such as the Purdue Vulcan project Check out the Vulcan project. You can zoom down to the lowest possible level to view CO2 offenders.


  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Better, Cheaper and Faster?

    They used the cheaper rocket and of course launching from Vandenburg makes the speaker of the house happy.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If the payload fairing didn't deploy the satellite is a write-off.

    Either the additional weight which should have been jettisoned will prevent it reaching orbit, in which case it will make a hypersonic re-entry to the Earth's atmosphere; or, if it does reach orbit, the satellite remains trapped inside the fairing, can't deploy its sensors and solar panels and the poor thing dies either of overheating or when its battery dies.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    I for one

    welcome our new CO2 breathing overlords

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It reached ocean-synchronous orbit

    So they can change the name from "orbiting carbon observatory" to "floating carbon observatory"

  39. Tam Lin

    Alabamataliban 2, US 0

    Some defence contractor employee-thumper now has a nice, "Redeem in heaven for 12 virgins" coupon. No doubt signed by George Bush, Rush Limbaugh, and god.

  40. Scott
    Black Helicopters

    @ Well what happened to it?

    "Regardless of what happened to the payload though, this should keep conspiracy theorists happy and busy for a while!"

    Yes, but even if it had launched, the conspiracy theorists would just claim that the numbers being broadcast by it were doctored, or that its purpose had nothing to do with measuring carbon dioxide at all (i.e. it's a giant mind-control laser or the "Oooo ray" -- or maybe it was going to link up with the HDTV converter boxes and steal our brain power ala The Riddler in that stupid Batman movie, and it was scrapped in the end because not enough coupons went around to ensure that a large enough percentage of American households would have mind-stealing devices).

    There's no end to what conspiracy theorists can conjure in their minds.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    And where is the proof it failed to reach orbit? Where is the proof it is not supplying a lot of 'interesting' information. Why are the conspiracy theorist so slow?

  42. R Callan

    AC @ 16:29

    Seeing as how it was a sleeve (valve) that failed it must have been a Bristol Taurus. Trying to explain why they used 1930's technology and underpowered at that is a question that should be answered. Everyone knows they should have used at least a Centaurus, or better still, an Olympus.

  43. Anonymous Coward

    This just in ...

    In unrelated news, a cruise ship with approximately 100 eco-tourists onboard went missing off the coast of Antarctica this morning. Last heard from shortly after 5:00 a.m. EST, the radio operator on board was heard to say "what's that whistling sound?".

  44. Anonymous John

    @ Better, Cheaper and Faster?

    Vandenberg is used for launches into polar orbit as they can launch south over water. For safety reasons and nothing to do with politics. A polar orbit was needed so the satellite could cover the whole planet.

  45. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    Shame. The first report would have been interesting

    OK This is GasBird-1 I am online, looking for CO2.

    Aha! There's a high concentration bearing 212.5, declination 43 degress. It's enormous! One helluva CO2 trail! It's vast! It's runs all the way from here down to Florida, just over Cape Ca.... Oh., Sorry. My mistake. Nothing to see here. Move along.

  46. Anonymous Coward

    It's still a success!

    Hey, if I worked for NASA PR I'd say this,

    "Mission success as satellite achieved ULEO (Ultra Low Earth Orbit), It is currently passing ove... through Antartica."

    paycheck please.

  47. Mike Flugennock

    Crashed in Antarctica...?

    I understand the spacecraft ended up crashing in Antarctica after re-entry.

    Day-AM. I'll bet THAT left one helluva "carbon footprint".

  48. Anonymous Coward


    Undoubtedly the poor sat was undone by PETA (People for Ethical Thermal Analysis) since no one can trust the NASA data fiddlers on climate topics. Better just to prevent any tainted data from showing up, after all who knows how the instruments were "calibrated" to support the hypothesis du jour of the global warming aficionados!

    Where are the conspiracy theorists when you need them anyway? Why is NASA spewing great plumes of carbon to study carbon, if the global warming is real they should be launching solar power satellites (which also make dandy death rays to melt holes in Persian nuclear bunkers and liquefy the atomic contents of mountains beloved by Dear Leader-- and maybe carbonize a few Talibanis and their highly profitable poppy fields or AlQueda planting roadside BinLaden IED bushes). Innovation is dead in the Western world, it is easier to make up a global warming problem and study it to death (or at least till we can retire on a fat pension) than to do anything real anymore! I will gladly pimp for global warming if I get retirement medical and a pension in exchange!! Where do I sign up?

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CO2 deficit

    540 million years ago CO2 was 7000ppm (when land animals appeared).

    170 million years ago CO2 was 1700ppm (when dinosaurs roamed the Earth)

    250 years ago CO2 was 250ppm (after Little Ice Age)

    currently, because of man, CO2 is 385ppm.

    Plant life dies at 150-180ppm through asphyxiation.

    CO2 is a finite resource. Nature has been sequestering it underground for 540 million years. At the rate of decrease over the last 170 million years, Earth would have hit 150ppm in about 10 million years. Odd as it may seem, man had inadvertently increased the life essential CO2 concentrations, and if we were to disappear today, the added CO2 probably adds another 10 million years to plant life on Earth. However, man is clever, and may find a way to bury CO2 and make it unavailable to nature at an accelerated rate. Thus, we may yet find a way to kill off most of the planet's plant life, thus ending the 3rd atmosphere.

    Meanwhile the governments and most of the press focus on the wrong components.

    N2O, which has no carbon, is 296 times worse than CO2, and 3% of fertilizer for corn to make ethanol is emitted into the air as N2O. Will that be regulated? And if so, will the cost of food soar?

    CH4 (methane) is emitted from rotting wood and is 22X worse than CO2. Will that be regulated? Termites create considerable methane, how will we regulate that? And will methane receive equal penalties for unequal effect?

    H2 (hydrogen) in the atmosphere combines with hydroxyls (-OH) and removes OH from the air. Hydroxyls normally combine with free methane to remove it. A hydrogen economy may actually increase the longevity of methane in the air, thus increasing Global Warming Gas effect. Will the EPA control that?

    Burning wood reduces the amount of methane released but increases CO2 over letting it rot which releases much more methane and less CO2. Methane oxidizes in about 9 years to CO2. Will the EPA promote burning scrap wood as a means of decreasing the overall GW effect?

    The current policy doesn't actually use science in its decision making. What is at stake is that if the government controls CARBON it controls LIFE.

    I grow trees. Agricultural growth rate has increased 30+% because of the increase of CO2 in the past 250 years. It is projected to increase further with any continued rise of CO2. What is the political end game? Are ecopoliticians trying to reduce CO2 to preindustrial 250ppm? Do you realize that we would lose the 30% agricultural gain and thus cause massive STARVATION across the planet. And do you know what happens when global concentrations drop to about 150ppm? Most life on Earth DIES. Is this what you want to promote?

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