back to article NASA's Glory climate-data sat crashes into Pacific on launch

A NASA satellite intended to bring some hard facts to the climate-change debate has crashed into the sea after lifting off from California and failing to separate from its booster rocket. The "Glory" satellite carried two sensors, one intended for investigation of aerosols – particulates such as soot – in the atmosphere and …


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  1. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    Hello, Acme? I Would Like To...

    ...order some of your exploding [attachment devices.]

  2. nichomach

    I Suggest...

    ....deployment of PARIS-based sensors....

  3. Anonymous Coward


    That's two satellites intended to investigate Climate Change which have failed. Obviously it's a conspiracy by denialists!

    1. Ammaross Danan

      Or likely....

      Climate Change advocates, since they seem to have more people in leadership positions able to pull off a covert sabotage. :P

    2. ArmanX
      Black Helicopters

      Or is it?

      Maybe it's a conspiracy by those who want to believe, but are afraid the data will prove them wrong? Or... maybe not...

      "Climate Change is wrong" group:

      "All right, men, let's blow this thing up! We don't want THEM finding anything to support their cause!"

      "Climate Change is right" group:

      "All right, men, let's blow this thing up! We don't want THEM finding anything to disprove our cause!"

      NASA boffin:

      "Wait... was that feet or meters? Eh, whatever..."

      1. Liam Johnson

        We're going to kidnap Pilate's wife

        We thought of it first!

        etc etc

    3. g e

      Perhaps but

      I don't think Denialists actually have any problem with real hard verifiable facts.

      It's just that there's so few of them where 'man made climate change' is concerned.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    obviously a conspiracy

    Well obviously someone doesn't wan't the masses to know the true answers to the questions that these satellites would have solved.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Stacking a rocket and expensive satelite in to the sea once might, charitably, be described as a "Mishap". But twice surely calls for something more strongly worded...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Quite right

      It's not like this sort of thing is rocket sci-oh hold on.

    2. Youngdog

      As Lady Bracknell might say...

      ..."To lose one Taurus XL, Orbital Sciences, may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose both looks like a job for the Mishap Investigation Board"

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "Stacking a rocket and expensive satelite in to the sea once might, charitably, be described as a "Mishap". But twice surely calls for something more strongly worded..."

      You'd think. But Fuckup Investigation Board doesn't have the initials MiB which presumably shows that somebody at NASA has a sense of humour. Sorry, humor.

  6. Andy 17

    Isn't this the 2nd..

    ..sat of it's ilk to spontaneously go pop? - the 1st was a couple of years back and was intended to monitor CO2.

    And to make me even more suspicious it's being investigated by the M.I.B ? (Cue Will Smith).

    1. Ammaross Danan

      Does no one actually read the articles?

      Really? Would be like reading about Core i7s and how they're quad/hexa-core but with hyperthreading enabled and posting a comment: "Yeah, they also have hyperthreading!"

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Typical Microsoft...

        I bet it is their fault, they probably did an update and it bricked it. I know it is only 10% of one particular model that is affected but it is bound to have affected it... If it had been open source then it wouldn't have crashed...

        Oh, sorry, the article is about a satellite? I just saw the word "crash" and went straight for the comments so I could post an ill informed rant about something I know naff all about, isn't that what the register comments section is about nowadays?

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Of course! It's so obvious!

          Microsoft did it!

          you can tell because it crashed straight into a Blue Sea of Death :D

  7. benzaholic
    Black Helicopters

    "They" don't want us to know

    Loss of a second attempt to "accurately measure and assess" global warming contributors?

    Well played. Launch a couple of stacks of bricks, claim technical failures, and you get to say you were trying to do something positive.

    Absolutely black helicopter territory.

  8. Steve X

    Mishap Investigation Board

    So the MiB do exist...

  9. Blue eyed boy
    Black Helicopters

    Intended to bring some hard facts?

    But we don't WANT hard facts, they would disprove the entire scenario.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But if you don't have any hard facts yet ...

      .. how do you know whether they'd disprove this "entire scenario"?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Double conspiracy

      Of course the conspiracy would work both ways...

    3. K.o.R

      With apologies to Mister Adams...

      "We demand solid facts!"

      "No, you fool, that is precisely what we DON'T demand!"

      "Alright... we don't demand solid facts. What we demand is a total ABSENCE of solid facts. We demand RIGIDLY defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!"

  10. Anonymous John

    God's way...

    ..of telling us there is no such thing as MMGW.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      God ?

      There is but one god. St. Steve Jobs. Got it ? And he doesnt like riddles. Wtf is MMGW anyway?

      Paris, cos she's god like (Godly?).

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Just a guess but...

        It is either Mini Mouse Got Wind or Man Made Global Warming... But I'm not sure, both seem plausable, it is all the cheese.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sabotaged by the denialists


    1. twelvebore

      Oral hygiene

      Why did I first read that as "Sabotaged by the dentists"? Must be pub time, it's been a long day.

    2. Gordon Barret
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Sabotaged by the denialists ...

      Obviously not - it was sabotaged by the believers before it could prove they are all talking a load of bollo**s. Just imagine all the funding they would have lost out on if the truth be known ...

  12. craig chester

    Can I get

    a Climate Change conspiracy theory for anyone?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    don't care

    Don't care much about why climate change is happening, far more interested in how we intend on dealing with the aftermath. As the change is inevitable.

    Why it's happening is one of those interesting things that common curiosity means I'd like to know what all the complex interactions are between all the things in our atmosphere and solar system.

    However it isn't going to change the fact that the climate is going to change and we either adapt or die.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Good viewpoint

      I agree entirely with you (although those who think that Man has changed so much about the planet to cause the problem also think that man can stop it!)

      However, I would say that you are much more likely to have problems with the total collapse of the financial system first. Firstly, there is the issue of USA giving so many dollars to China to pay for things, that the dollar will almost end up worthless, and the only thing that USA can give to China to repay is all their land :) Then there is the issue that credit and interest means that there actually isn't enough money in the world to repay all the dept!

      I think that little lot will cause you problems long before climate change does.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Gordon 10


      Drama queen.

      You do realise that the chances of whole human even being mildly inconvenienced by climate change is slim right? The earth has been much hotter than this many times before and our ancestors and related species survived quite happily.

      People like you who persist in painting climate changes as an Eco-pocalypse do nothing for the debate.

      Try reading the Reg interview with one of the greenpeace founders from a couple of weeks ago and come back when you have something constructive to add.

  14. David 164

    Obvious sabotage

    Obvious it sabotage by the oil industry and there government insiders or by green peace have not decided which yet.

    Either way we have just lost several years worth of work which would of increase our understanding and knowledge of our environment.

  15. the spectacularly refined chap

    Try getting it right...

    The fairing covering the payload wasn't jettisoned when it was supposed to be. The additional weight meant it did not reach the required altitude.

    It was not "dragged down" by the stage underneath it, which was still operational and indeed essential for a successful orbital insertion.

    1. g e

      successful orbital insertion


      'I think he's attempting re-entry, Sir' - Q, Moonraker(?)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Someone's not going to have a good weekend.....


  17. Anonymous Coward


    What I want to know is if the sattelite is recoverable and if they'll try to launch it again after checking it out. Some of the reports said that contingency plans were put into effect, so perhaps they had some sort of safe recovery proceedure in place. I'm pretty sure the answer is no, but I'd like to know anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      To "recover" the satellite they would need a REALLY big dust pan and brush...

      To put it another way, over the weekend I dropped my iPhone onto the floor of a car park and it smashed.

      Now, imagine a satellite, built in a clean room to prevent the slightest trace of contamination, full of delicate instruments and made of the lightest materials posible to save launch weight. Imagine that hitting the ocean at speeds somewhat faster than my iPhone hit the floor...

      No, it ain't recoverable, if is scattered all over the southern pacific ocean floor where the fish are shouting "they are shooting rockets at us again!"

      P.S. Not mocking, just wanting to get in my sorrow for my trashed iPhone, still my Omnia WP7 phone is working fine, even after the update!

    2. Allan George Dyer

      It depends...

      After the first time, they may have decided to paint the whole thing in marine varnish.

      Yep, the one with the clinker-built satellite in the pocket.

    3. F111F

      Short Answer: No

      Long Answer: 1) Splashed down in water thousands of feet deep; 2) Hit the water at (probably) several hundred mph and is now in little, tiny pieces; 3) Not designed to float, though some bits/pieces might,

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two? Could be just a coincidence.

    Let's give NASA one more shot at launching this type of satellite.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      This satellite was going up to join the A Train constellation which already has a whole bunch of this type of satellite. Also, NASA wasn't doing the launch.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    I call conspiracy between the conspirators. Direct observations are in nobody's interest in the overheated climate debate. Superglue on the rocket top and everyone keeps their funding ! (except the rocket maker, who I do feel sorry for).

    1. g e


      The launch guy held the controller the wrong way.

      Does anyone know if Apple made it?

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Unfortunately, it isn't just Glory that failed.....

    The Amateur Radio satellites Explorer-1, KySat-1 and Hermes were all lost too as they were piggy-backing on the launch.

  21. Jemma


    Who's turn is it to call the Wildfire Alert this time...?

    Probably a case of explosive bolts that didnt - but if you see any green/purple flecks - you're probably already dead...

    Have a nice day ya'all...

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Send it through India

    A lot of them are doing it now. They would do it better and cheaper.

    Who can forget the fiasco about the Mars lander, when ultimately, it was found to be a simple calculation error between two systems of measurement - Miles and Kilometers and the whole system went Kaput ?

    Im impressed with them - again.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Better than the Russians!

    America always has to be better than the Russians!

    A couple of Russians were fired, and Roscosmos (Russian equivalent to NASA or ESA) got a right earful when they lost a rocket with a couple of navigation satellites.

    But to do it TWICE ! ?

  24. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Not looking good for Orbital Science Corp and the Cre Dev contract

    2 attempted launches, 2 fails.

    Note this is the *old* Taurus launcher they know *how* to build and operate (but haven't very often).

    Not the new hotness with the Russian built (and probably designed) liquid fueled first stage with the engines they picked up off ATK when RPKistler went down the pan along with the cash left from the NASA contract with RPKistler.


    OSC have been smoozing NASA for about another $300m for a "Risk reduction" flight.

    This would suggest they need it.

  25. petur

    RE: don't care

    When trying to solve a problem, it always helps to know the cause. And that goes for most problems...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: When trying to solve a problem ...

      You're assuming there is a problem, and the planet isn't supposed to work this way. And assuming that even if we could figure out what and why, there's a chance of changing it, changing it the way we want to, and that would be a good thing. Lots of assumptions that basically seem to hinge on someone figuring out how to see far into the future, and trusting someone to decide how the future should be.

      1. scatter

        If we continue on this trajectory...

        of inexorable increases in greenhouse gas emissions, we know that the future is going to be a very dark world indeed. If we do nothing to change direction, that future is guaranteed. if we do something about it now we have a small chance of avoiding it.

  26. EWI

    Straight reporting?

    "A NASA satellite intended to bring some hard facts to the climate-change debate [...]"


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I can't help thinking that if the satellite had actually successfully deployed, that we'd be reading articles about the data being returned and there some sort of problem with it.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Conspiracy Theory?

    Before we get too far into the conspiracy theory territory, remember this.

    There have been a sum total of 9 attempted launches with a Taurus XL stack. Of those, 3 have failed. That means there is (if my maths is actually working this late on a Friday) that there was a 1 in 12 chance that 3 random failures would happen to take out these 2 satellites.

    Worse still, 3 of the last 4 launches have failed. Again, by random chance that gives you a 50/50 chance that both the climate change monitoring satellites would have been lost in a random event.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      Conspiracy theory!

      So you're saying that these damn climate-cultists* conspired to have the satellites launched by the system the most likely to fail?

      *or "these selfish denialist", depending on your pack

  28. JeffyPooh

    Well that explains sea-level rise...

    They're slowly filling-in the Pacific ocean with expensive ClimSat kit.


  29. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    With the last MiB on shroud separation failute

    This should have been the *last* system they should have had a problem with.

    However separation and engine failures are the *most* common causes of launch failure

    In some ways the shroud failure is *worse*. Most satellites have maneuvering propellant and an error in the thrust duration/level can be compensated for (IIRC Orbital have some experience of this with other satellites they have operated) with a resulting shorter mission but a shroud failure adds quite a lot of weight to the final stage (much lower orbit) while trapping the satellite so it cannot deploy solar panels if it has them or get light to any body mounted ones. Battery run down followed by satellite failure then becomes inevitable.

  30. Adrian Midgley 1
    Thumb Down

    it fell a very long way

    I doubt it will be fixable.

    Being soaked in salt water may not help much either.

  31. Alexander Rogge

    Rocket overhaul

    We need better rockets - better, faster, not chemical burning, and more reliable!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Non chemical burning rockets? How's that going to work then?

      1. Adam Foxton
        Thumb Up

        Excuse me as a non-expert in these things, but it sounds like...

        ...we need indirect cycle (or, if you're launching from a place you don't like, I guess direct air cycle could be used too!) Nuclear Jet engines. Nuclear reactions heat the air quickly as it passes through the engine, causing it to expand and producing a thrust similar to that of a regular jet engine.

        As you're not particularly worried about the amount of oxygen in the air around the plane (i.e you can fly even on less-oxygen-rich and less-dense air) you can reach heights similar to or even greater than the magnificent SR-71 spyplane, scraping the edge of space.

        I've been thinking, and I think getting any further without reacting chemicals would require a tank of something like liquid nitrogen (stored as liquid, but heated to gaseous state for use) to be vented through the engines and over the control surfaces to provide something to react against. Previous aircraft have used the technique of venting off intake air over the control surfaces, but the non-air-burning nuclear jet would be able to use it as propulsion reaction mass as well.

        There ya go, a space-faring jet bringing clean, efficient nuclear energy to the rest of the universe. Find a way of capturing and compressing pockets of low-density matter in space and it's even re-usable so long as you've got your nuclear engine!

        I've probably got something totally wrong... If not, then someone call the ESA and ask about funding for me...

  32. Charles Manning

    Was there ever a sat?

    Now here's a plan for a cash-strapped NASA to get funding for the projects they really want to do:

    1) Propose Climate Change project. Get funded for $2bn.

    2) Buy plastic soccer ball + roll of aloominum foil at Kmart. Stop off at Radio shack for a few LEDs 555s and a battery. Spent $25 or less.

    3) Get mates + few beers. Build shiny blinky round thing. $20 for beer. $5 for band aids.

    4) Put shiny blinky round thing in rocket. Pay rocket manager $100 to crash rocket.

    5) Put $1999999850 into NASA fun ad games fund.

    6) Goto step 1.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    A few million moving parts......all built by the lowest bider

    So this tendering stuff, where we are told to go for the lowest bid, as it offers bet value for the tax payer.

    How does this work?

  34. Nick Pettefar

    Lord Nick of Swindon

    Someone's going to get a rocket...

  35. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Orbital rockets don't have many moving parts.

    They're *solid* propellant. As simple as fireworks, and *almost* as controllable.

    Unfortunately the bits that *do* move don't seem to work very well.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    Gone to glory.

    We had zero historical data regarding weather over most of the planet until the first earth observation satellites were in place. Was Glory supposed to validate activists global warming


    Where are the conspiracy mongers when you need them?

    1. Northumbrian

      Why did no one think of it?

      I'm a little surprised that no one thought to make any observations about the weather before there were satellites. You'd have thought that making systematic notes about temperatures, rainfall, crop yields, pressure would have occurred to someone before the 1950s.

      All those long voyages around the world in sailing ships, and no one recorded any data. What a lot of missed opportunities.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Yes, historical records do exist, but nobody is sure how accurate they are. How accurate were the instruments? How well and often were the instruments calculated? Were the instruments correctly housed and located away from external influences?

        Someboy told me recently that we only have reliable historical data going back to 1914 for London. You'd expect London of all places to be on the leading edge of such things. So if we don't have accurate records for London for even 100 years what chance do we have for the more remote areas of the planet? You can't talk about global climate history when you only have records for a hand full of cities.

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