Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory Crashes During Launch

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I was excited the other day to hear that NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory was set for launch today.  It was designed to map carbon sources and sinks over a period of time (the carbon cycle) to assist climate scientists’ efforts to ascertain the state of our climate.  Most unfortunately, the satellite failed to reach orbit this morning after a shroud failed to separate during ascent.  Likely weighing too much, the satellite came back to Earth near Antarctica.

NASA will of course investigate the data from launch in an attempt to determine cause.  It’s too early to tell what future plans regarding similar efforts might be.  To my knowledge, I don’t think NASA or climate researchers have an operating satellite that can do what OCO was designed for.  It took eight years to plan and build this satellite, so any future replacement wouldn’t be ready for quite some time.


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