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NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory Mission Fails

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the couldn't-make-it-through-all-the-soot dept.

NASA 325

jw3 writes "The NASA Orbiting Carbon Observatory scheduled for launch today has failed its mission: the payload fairing failed to separate and the launch managers declared a contingency. George Diller, NASA launch commentator, said, 'It either did not separate or did not separate in the way that it should, but at any rate we're still trying to evaluate exactly what the status of the spacecraft is at this point.'" Update: 02/24 14:17 GMT by T : Reader fadethepolice points out a Reuters report which says that the craft crashed into the ocean just short of Antarctica.

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325 comments

Global Warming (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26968855)

is a hoax, and the rocket knows it was just wasting time and money. It threw the launch.

An Introduction to Anal Masturbation (-1, Offtopic)

SpunkyBrewster (1485305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968939)

It's four thirty a.m. and the house is asleep.

I. . . am not asleep.

I am crouched in the bathtub in a frog-like stance, small puddles of urine and liquid shit at my feet. I'm leaning forward, gripping the side of the tub and biting my knee, overwhelmed by a mixture of pain and pleasure as I piston a dildo in and out of my ass.

You see, I really love anal masturbation.

Ever try it? No? You should.

Doesn't matter who you are. God gave all of us, male and female, an abundance of nerve endings in our rectum - and one life to live. So why don't you go ahead and test out the equipment? Have some fun. No point in having a gun sitting on your shelf your entire life and never killing anyone, right?

But I realize there's a fairly persistent misconception among guys that I'm gonna have to dispel before we go any further:

Stimulating your own ass is not "gay."

That notion doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I mean, how could anything you do to your own body be gay? Nobody ever freaks out in the middle of jerking off like "Holy fuck, I've got a fistful of cock! I've gotta cut this gay shit out!" Well, what's the philosophical difference between playing with your dick and playing with your ass?

There is none.

Look fellas, here's the scoop:

If you have a girl wearing a foot long strap-on, smacking your face and screaming "WHO'S MY BITCH?!?" while she pounds your asshole until it bleeds, that would be a *heterosexual* act. Girl on guy. Simple.

Now if it's a guy that's fucking you, that would be homosexual. And if you're doing it to yourself, well, that's plain old masturbation.

But listen - if you're still sitting there being stubborn, all macho and uptight going "My ass. . . is EXIT ONLY!!!" then lemme just ask you a question.

You know that feeling you get when you take a really big shit?

You know what I'm talking about. You're sitting on the couch, eating Cheez-Its and watching Larry King, when all of the sudden you feel that familiar burning. . . so you get up and bound off to the bathroom all bow legged, clenching your sphincter real tight, and then you furiously rip off your boxer briefs and plop down on the seat just in time to let a huuuuuuge thick turd come sliding out of your ass?

Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!

That feeling.

That tingling, chills up your spine, this-is-absolutely-the-pinnacle-of-human-existence feeling.

Well guess what. That's the feeling of a massive rod moving through your rectum, tickling those wonderfully abundant nerve endings. You love it. It's okay. We all do. It doesn't make you a fag. Or at the very least, we're ALL fags. So indulge yourself.

(Yes, I understand that said feeling is partially due to the sensory experience of toxins leaving the body, which is unique to defecation - but the operative word here is "partially." You like the log movement, too. Don't try to argue.)

So anyway, now that you've decided to be bold, and not a homophobic pussy, and poke around the cornhole a little bit - good for you. But there's something you should remember. Anal masturbation is just like playing the accordion, or shooting a jumper, or really anything else that's worth doing. That is, it requires practice.

You see, back when I was a kid I would get curious and stick a finger or a toothbrush up there, but I wasn't fucking around with anywhere near the kind of pleasure I'm achieving now. It was uncomfortable even. So I worked on it.

And conversely, I know I'm still far from expertise in this particular discipline. I don't claim to be an ass master. There's a whole world of lengths, girths, textures, and vibrations that my eager browneye has yet to inhale.

But since I have honed my skills to a pretty decent level, I'll share with you my current technique. Without further ado:

SpunkyBrewster's Anal Masturbation Technique

What You Need:

1. Lubricant of your choice
2. Fake cock (eight inches, approx.)
3. Ridged anal wand (seven inches, approx.)

Procedure:

1. Apply a generous amount of lube to your index finger, and swirl the lubricated finger lightly around your butthole. Add another drop or two of lube, and then simultaneously push your finger into your butthole while pushing back with your anus muscles.

2. Slide your finger into your ass up to the knuckle and feel around for turds. Unless you're an anorexic, you probably will come across one.

3. Circle your finger around your anal walls pressing outward, as if you were an umpire signaling a home run. You should be near the toilet, because this is intended to stimulate a bowel movement. Once you've shit, and your rectum is empty, then you're ready for some heavy duty fun.

4. Lube up a second finger and slip them both into your poopchute. Let your asshole get comfortable with the new mass, and then begin to pump a little. Repeat with a third finger if you so desire.

5. Slather lube all over the ridged anal wand. Squat over your tool and press the tip to your now greasy anus. Just as you've done with your fingers, ease the dildo into your cornhole as you push back onto it with your ass muscles. Go slowly, stopping at each ridge and letting your ass adjust to the increase in width, until you have it in as far as it will go.

6. Now it's time to start pounding. I'm not gonna get more specific than that. Do it your own way. Experiment with different positions and rhythms until you find what you like.

7. Once your ass has been thoroughly fucked by the anal wand, it's time to move up to the larger dildo. Again, you're going to repeat the process that you've done twice already, with your fingers and the wand. Entering slowly, pushing back on it, letting yourself adjust, and then starting to pump.

8. At this point your asshole is really loose, gaping even, and it's time to move on to my favorite part. Crouch down, or get into whatever position you feel comfortable with, and hold the fake cock in one hand and the wand in the other. Work the fake cock in and out, building the pace until you are doing a high intensity rectal plundering. Slide it in really deep, pause, then pull it out all the way - quickly jamming in the anal wand to fill its place. The rapid transition from smooth to ridged textures will send waves out of pleasure rippling through your entire body. Then give yourself a nice hard fuck with the anal wand, and repeat as many times as you'd like.

*In carrying out these steps - even if you take the dump at the beginning - you still might at some point fuck the shit out of yourself. This is why I recommend doing it in a bathtub, or on some other surface that is easy to clean. Now at first you might be squeamish about the poo, but I think that as you get hardcore into the pleasure of all this, you'll just naturally get desensitized. Kind of like a heroin addict quickly gets over his fear of needles.

In fact, I've found that the right kind of poo can easily be incorporated into the festivities. Sometimes while I'm pounding away I will feel a sudden rush of heat travel through my ass, and I'll know that I'm coating the dildo with a somewhat viscous liquid shit. At this point in the ass ramming, my pain tolerance is rather high, so I'll simply jam the shitty dildo back up my ass, and let the sudden decrease in lubrication create an effect similar to the aforementioned smooth-to-ridged transition. As a matter of fact, this is probably the most intense sensation that I've come across in my entire anal masturbatory experience.*

So that's how it's done. Quite the activity, I must say. Maybe next time you're feeling bored and restless, you can give it a shot. Unless you're a fucking prude, in which case I'd recommend suicide. Or do a goddamn crossword puzzle, I don't really care.

One more thing I want to say on the subject: I really think anal penetration should be an Olympic sport. Wouldn't that be neat? I mean for Christ sakes, we've all seen how much those little Japanese bastards can eat - can you imagine how much they could stuff up the other end? It could even be a team sport where one of them has to take their partner's entire head up their ass.

Well. . . I don't really know how much support I'm gonna get for my petition to add competitive rectal insertion to the Olympic Games, we'll have to see - but seriously, speed walking? FUCKING CURLING?!? It would be far from the dumbest event on the schedule.

Evaluating the status? (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968877)

Without a full investigation, I'd hypothesize tha the status is "laying in many pieces on the ice somewhere in Antarctica."

NASA Satellite lands in ocean (3, Informative)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968943)

According to the NYT, that's pretty much what happened: NASA Satellite Lands in Ocean [nytimes.com]

Re:NASA Satellite lands in ocean (5, Funny)

ruin20 (1242396) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969231)

So this means that in the battle against climate change, the biggest shot NASA has taken thus far is a rocket attack on Antarctica.

Re:NASA Satellite lands in ocean (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969249)

No, it's not a rocket attack, it's more like an ICBM launch.

Re:NASA Satellite lands in ocean (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969527)

No, ICBM's would have functioned correctly.

Re:NASA Satellite lands in ocean (3, Funny)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969511)

No...to measure ice melt properties in Antarctica, NASA scattered a non-homogeneous collection of light reflection and absorption particle on the shelf. Approval to scatter material all across Antarctica would have been delayed in committee for months using normal methods. This way, everyone feels sorry for NASA that they lost a scientific rocket when in fact they have succeeded.

Re:Evaluating the status? Cui bono? (0, Flamebait)

waterbear (190559) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969085)

Without a full investigation, I'd hypothesize tha the status is "laying in many pieces on the ice somewhere in Antarctica."

I don't know what an investigation might find: or maybe, that some of the oil interests are sleeping easier at nights?

Re:Evaluating the status? (4, Funny)

ruin20 (1242396) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969105)

Well that's what they get for trying to launch a satellite with a Taurus [wikipedia.org] . I had one back in the late ninties and the tranny on them was completely worthless. It should come as no surprise that, just when you needed, a Ford [urbandictionary.com] breaks down.

Re:Evaluating the status? (3, Funny)

jimwormold (1451913) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969175)

I was thinking of an entirely different type of tranny, you old time talker you.

Re:Evaluating the status? (1, Offtopic)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969377)

FORD:

Fix
Or
Repair
Daily

But then Everything made by GM and Chrysler is that way as well lately.

Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26969807)

Does anyone else see the irony that with all the places it could have crashed, it hit a big hunk of ice...

Loco NOCO (-1, Offtopic)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968879)

Loco NOCO
Rejects retrograde
As wild whisker
Evades the blade
Burma Shave

Whick rocket? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26968887)

Is this the one where we fire a ball of garbage into the sun?

Re:Whick rocket? (3, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969059)

That was _last_ season. This season we'll be monitoring CO2 levels from space. Also planned are mapping cow farts via Google maps mashups and planned for season three: a Google maps/Zillow mashup showing the exact number of humans on the African sub-continent who could have survived for more than a month on the energy wasted through the carbon footprint of every house in America. That's right. Search for your house in Zillow and be instantly notified of how many people died so you could watch the superbowlcrapgame in comfort and style. Additional efforts by season 2 sponsor AT&T will allow you to track high CO2 outputters via GPS in their phones. Season 3 sponsors AT&T and General Dynamics plan to bring you HCO European edition via UAV. That's right, each week we'll allow one Republican Evangelical to get "up close and personal" with one of Europe's most prolific CO2 outputters via UAV. The fun never ends.

Thanks to the FTC, EPA, and several other federal agencies, there will be no tax credits, carbon credits, alternative energies, or in fact any plan to reduce CO2 outputs. We just want you to see what you could have done to help the world. It's a feel better move, change you can relax with.

---
This message brought to you by ExxonNonMobile, "fuel for a greener tomorrow"
---

What actually happened is that the aliens hiding behind the moon realized we'd notice their trail of hothouse gases from terraforming equipment on the moon, and have disabled the rocket to ensure the satellite does not do its job.

Re:Whick rocket? (1, Flamebait)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969413)

The sure way for a Greeny to reduce CO2 emissions is to commit suicide.

What's the contingency for these missions? (4, Interesting)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968903)

I know with the Mars rovers the cost of a second rover was small change compared to the development cost of the original. The launch vehicle is expensive, of course, but it was considered cheaper to launch two missions and hope one succeeded than launching one that could fail and mean all the money was wasted.

What sort of contingency do they have for sats like this? Do they just fabricate another one and try again in a year or two?

Re:What's the contingency for these missions? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968983)

What sort of contingency do they have for sats like this? Do they just fabricate another one and try again in a year or two?

dunno but:

WASHINGTON - NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory failed to reach orbit [spaceref.com] this morning after a 4:51 a.m. EST liftoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. A media briefing on the mishap has been tentatively scheduled for 7:15 a.m. from Vandenberg. The briefing will be carried on NASA TV.

It's now 0614 PST. Did anyone catch the media briefing? The only evidence I can see that the beeb was even aware of it is the line Nasa officials confirmed the launch had failed at a press conference held at 1300 GMT. But there is zero information in this article that you could not have gathered from other sources - the author of the bbc article obviously tapped a couple of sources, read some other articles (the link I place above, the OCO mission page [nasa.gov] , and others) and spit out a piece of trash we could have done without. Thanks, BBC! Your contribution to mainstream news will be forgotten in the mists of time. I hope.

Re:What's the contingency for these missions? (4, Informative)

confused one (671304) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968991)

Contingency? We don't have no contingency. Seriously though: looks like the only options are to either hope someone else's similar but not quite equivalent satellite generates data they can use; or, spend the money to build and launch a replacement. By the way, they spent 7 years building, testing and waiting for launch, not 2.

Re:What's the contingency for these missions? (4, Interesting)

Paranatural (661514) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969143)

Yes, but even before they launched, the builders were saying how much easier it would be to build a second one, now that all the design work was done and they have experience putting it together. They could probably create it all over again (comparatively) cheaply.

On second thought, maybe they should tack on a year for design refinements and take a look at that whole separation module thingy.

Re:What's the contingency for these missions? (5, Informative)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969563)

On second thought, maybe they should tack on a year for design refinements and take a look at that whole separation module thingy.

The team that designed the satellite didn't design the rocket. The rocket was a "Taurus XL", built by a different team to the OCO team (not even by NASA).

I imagine less than 7 years went into the rocket's design, and that it cost much less than $270 million, so I would guess the team behind the satellite would be pretty damn pissed. (I wonder if they insure it etc, and what sort of rates they have to pay to do so)

At any rate it's a real tragedy for everyone; knowing much more about where CO2 comes from and goes would have been a huge leap forward for the study of global warming.

Re:What's the contingency for these missions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26969565)

I was all =*( when I clicked "read more," but now I'm all =) having read your post! I like optimists.

Re:What's the contingency for these missions? (2, Interesting)

ca111a (1078961) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969785)

>the builders were saying how much easier it would be to build a second one
hmm... so the builders would actually be interested in the first one failing if they wanted more work?

Re:What's the contingency for these missions? (2, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969459)

So you are saying it will take another 7 years? Why did they launch all the plans and engineers up with it?

I bet they can build a new one in months if they did not kill all the engineers and burn all the documentation.

but then I dont know what NASA's new operation rules are. That might be a requirement. Place all that in the pit below the rocket just before launch...

"Sorry dave and john, you knew this would happen when you signed your employment papers."
"OOps! halt the countdown! we frgot to throw in all the computer backups as well! WHEW! almost screwed that one up!"

Re:What's the contingency for these missions? (1)

squoozer (730327) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969189)

I believe that some important, difficult to replicate, missions have a second unlaunched backup of the satalite which is used for debugging etc. I don't know if this satalite would have such a back up though and then there is the problem of finding a launcher.

Re:What's the contingency for these missions? (1)

carambola5 (456983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969329)

For space missions, once something is launched, all design is done. That's a very expensive component: the engineers' time to conceive and design. All that remains now for OCO is to determine the cause of failure, design a way to avoid it, and send the already-made drawings off to the shop again.

The marginal cost is materials + machine shop time + assembly time + testing (not insignificant) + launch costs.

Of course, it would have been cheaper to make the two flight units together initially... machining expenses plummet when increasing the quantity of parts in a batch. Truth be told, there are probably a few OCO's hanging out at NASA now, though they've been tested (think big vibration tests) near the point of failure.

Re:What's the contingency for these missions? (4, Interesting)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969723)

The main difference is that Mars has historically been very unfriendly to probes (both surface and orbital). Low Earth orbit we have a much better handle on, you can generally assume that launches will succeed.

Of course the Taurus XL launch vehicle hasn't been an overwhelming success, it's 6 for 8 now... Though when the failure comes from payload or fairing separation you'll get people pointing fingers at each other as to what caused the problem. From what I can see the actual rocket stages all performed correctly.

heh (-1, Troll)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968905)

"Nasa will now put together an investigation board to determine the root cause of the problem."

You mean, NASA will now put together an prevarication board to bullshit about this nonsense.

Quick question, are acronyms not capitalized on the other side of the pond, or have the editors at the beeb been sacked?

Re:heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26968947)

Actually, Mr. N. A. Nasa is in charge of the investigation at NASA.

Re:heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26969147)

> Quick question, are acronyms not capitalized on the other side of the pond...

Apparently not. I see this all the time in european news papers.

Re:heh (4, Informative)

TempeTerra (83076) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969447)

It's a particular capitalisation style. To shamelessly repeat someone else's response from last time this came up: the BBC style does not capitalise acronyms which are pronounced as words. [radar] would not be capitalised because it's a pronounced word which happens to be an acronym. [Nasa] has the first letter capitalised because it's used as a proper noun. [BBC] is all capitalised because it's an acronym pronounced B.B.C.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26968951)

TAKE THAT ENVIRONMENT!

It's Official !!!! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26968957)

Aliens sabotaged the launch so they can continue to warm the planet to make it more palatable to their bodies when they invade 20 years from now.

Re:It's Official !!!! (0, Redundant)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969003)

I always thought George Bush was an alien [wikipedia.org] .

Re:It's Official !!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26969463)

Occam's Razor.

GWB as an alien is too complicated.

The simple explanation is that he is just an fscking idiot.

According to CNN... (Well, some of it) (2, Funny)

ShadowBlasko (597519) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968961)

The satellite will now be re-purposed to study carbon and methane emissions that need to be observed to determine the current threat level regarding activity in R'lyeh.

"Initial indications are the vehicle did not have enough [force] to reach orbit and landed just short of Antarctica in the ocean."

I'm sure the ancient ones are happy to have some new tech to plunder.

All hail the new tentacle observer!

Re:According to CNN... (Well, some of it) (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969009)

I like this part: The rocket carried hydrazine fuel but NASA officials said they had no indication that any part of the rocket or satellite posed a threat to anyone. I hope that means all the fuel was burned. There's too much of that stuff floating around loose on the planet already.

Re:According to CNN... (Well, some of it) (2, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969397)

I hope that means all the fuel was burned. There's too much of that stuff floating around loose on the planet already.

Over the long term, hydrazine in the environment is mostly harmless.

http://www.gasdetection.com/TECH/hydrazine.html [gasdetection.com]

Vapor-phase hydrazine is degraded in the atmosphere by reaction with photochemically-produced hydroxyl radicals and ozone with estimated half-lives of about 6 and 9 hours, respectively.

All the usual rules of half lives apply here. Somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 of it's already broken down... Of course if sticking your head inside the fuel tank to take a look would have originally killed you 100 times over, and now it'll only kill you 25 times over, thats little comfort at this moment. None the less, even in colder conditions, it'll be "mostly harmless" in at most a couple weeks or so.

Rebuild? (3, Interesting)

talcite (1258586) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968969)

I wonder if they have another OCO sitting as backup somewhere? Satellites are usually built in pairs just in case one of them fails during launch. Also, the BBC confirmed that the OCO is in the antarctic right now. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7907570.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Rebuild? (5, Interesting)

jnik (1733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969237)

Satellites are usually built in pairs just in case one of them fails during launch
Not usually...at least none of the NASA or AFRL projects I'm familiar with has a full-build spare. It's not entirely uncommon to have a second of some of the instruments, and it's pretty common to have enough spare parts to build another copy of an instrument. (Much easier to buy a couple of spares up front rather than wait around if someone screws something up.) Then testing and integration can go much more quickly and cheaply, having done it once before. It still can take awhile, though [wikipedia.org] .

(Incidentally, the title and summary for this article suck...the OCO didn't fail, it was lost in a launch failure, and it didn't "fail its mission," it didn't get a chance to start. That's like saying your car broke down because someone ran a red light and T-boned it. No offense intended to the launch team.)

Re:Rebuild? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26969359)

About those spares... who's to say that they weren't already used by some other mission or spacecraft? Or that OCO used the spare parts of some previous mission. When you're talking million dollar parts, spares don't sit in bonded stores very long.

then, there's the people thing. Are the folks who built and tested OCO still around and not doing something else? It's not like JPL or Orbital have rooms of folks sitting around waiting for the call to action.

Re:Rebuild? (2, Insightful)

Domint (1111399) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969601)

Incidentally, the title and summary for this article suck...the OCO didn't fail, it was lost in a launch failure, and it didn't "fail its mission," it didn't get a chance to start. That's like saying your car broke down because someone ran a red light and T-boned it. No offense intended to the launch team.

Hmmm. I'd suspect a better car analogy would be "That's like saying your car broke down because the truck hauling it from the manufacturer to the dealership you just placed the order through fell off a bridge." But perhaps I'm just nitpicking. :)

Re:Rebuild? (4, Informative)

carambola5 (456983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969411)

It depends on the project, but space projects - even small payloads aboard larger craft - are invariably built in sets. Unfortunately, you usually can't just launch one of the "spares" because they're not actually spares. They are identical units that are tested near (or beyond) the point of failure to predict lifetime of the one flight unit. These are called qualification units, or "Qual Units." Occasionally, you'll also have one or two ground-based units (ground-support equipment, or GSEs) that mimic the project's function but aren't necessarily built with space in mind... for example, expensive weight-saving milling operations have been omitted or cheaper wiring (PVC) may have replaced expensive space-worthy wiring (Teflon).

Re:Rebuild? (1)

Zoxed (676559) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969589)

> I wonder if they have another OCO sitting as backup somewhere? Satellites are usually built in pairs just in case one of them fails during launch.

You may be confusing building pairs with first building an Engineering Model first (to be hacked around, tested, re drilled etc) with the final version that is launched. The former is typically kept after launch to help with on-ground analysis of problems seen on-board.

The Engineering Model can be later cannibalized, along with spares being used: eg S/C 1 for Cluster 2 [wikipedia.org] after the first launch failed.

Typical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26968975)

bloated government agency. I'm not talking about bloated money-wise, but process and procedure-wise. The fact they have even less money these days doesn't help any but they're a starving fat pig when they need to be a lean marathon runner.

Re:Typical (2, Insightful)

zuckie13 (1334005) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969473)

You arse, you do realize that the damned rocket (the thing that actually failed) was NOT - I REPEAT NOT - built by NASA. It was built by Orbital Sciences.

Re:Typical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26969749)

In the words of Wiki: [CITATION NEEDED]. No really, how do you justify your comments? I just don't see it.

Fantastic! (5, Funny)

The Fun Guy (21791) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968999)

The telemetry from the satellite is reading zero across the board. That must mean there's no carbon dioxide in the atmosphere anymore. Now we don't have to worry about global warming - fantastic!

Good work, NASA. I knew we could get this climate change thing cleared up once we had better data.

Nope, we're screwed even worse (2, Funny)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969455)

This sucks! No C02 means: 1) All plants will soon die 2) All animals die soon after (including us) 3) ? 4) !profit

Taurus XL (5, Interesting)

JumboMessiah (316083) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969021)

Was the decision to use the Taurus [designation-systems.net] to keep launch costs down? Launching from Vandenberg, I'm assuming they were aiming for a steep inclination. Just wondering if anyone knows why they didn't go with a Delta II....

Re:Taurus XL (5, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969137)

Seems more like they used a Taurus [wikipedia.org] . If one of those gets where it's going, it's a miracle.

Re:Taurus XL (1)

bohemian72 (898284) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969379)

That would be funny if the pre-discontinued Ford Taurus wasn't such a damned good car.
What the marketing folks at Ford thought by discontinuing it and then bringing it back as the rebranded Five Hundred, I'll never know.
It's right up there with naming a new Lincoln the Zepher and that stupid looking cheese slicer grill Ford's been all enamored with lately.

I guess my joke involving Ford Taurus vs. the Rocket would go more along the lines that they should have tried the Ford instead.

Re:Taurus XL (3, Insightful)

zuckie13 (1334005) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969401)

Taurus was probably chosen because it was cheaper than the Delta II (since the satellite didn't need the full capacity of a Delta II), was available, and fit the mission profile. It has had 5 or 6 successful launches, including launches for the Air Force/NRO, so it was a proven vehicle before this. The A-train constellation (which OCO was going to join) is a high inclination orbit (98.2 degrees), so Vandenberg was used for the launch site.

Re:Taurus XL (0)

epiphani (254981) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969619)

This is the part of it that blows my mind:

"As a direct result of carrying that extra weight we could not make orbit," said John Brunschwyler, the Taurus program manager with manufacturer Orbital Sciences Corp.

WTF? I know this is rocket science, but knowing the amount of force required to get a given weight into orbit seems like a pretty good first step.

I can understand all kinds of reasons for this to fail, but "woops, we put too much weight on the rocket?" Almost as bad as the feet/meters thing.

Re:Taurus XL (1)

TorKlingberg (599697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969683)

Extra weight because the payload fairing failed to separate.

well we're f*****d (5, Informative)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969027)

This probe would have provided millions of carbon dioxide measurements a day* for the entire atmospheric column (rather than the hundreds of measurements, usually only at ground level that we currently get from our fixed sensors). Considering the importance these measurements would be in helping us predict climate change, I think we (the human race) has just suffered a serious setback.

[There was a scene in the movie "Silent Running" where the command is given to jettison and detonate the last remaining biospheres. The commander says "may god have mercy on us". I'm beginning to feel that way now.]

*it was going to take readings at 56,000 locations a day but at each location would record carbon dioxide concentrations for the entire air column.

Re:well we're f*****d (1, Interesting)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969123)

"*it was going to take readings at 56,000 locations a day but at each location would record carbon dioxide concentrations for the entire air column."

So?

Imagine it actually made it to it's destination. Then what?

CO2 is a greenhouse gas. But compared to water vapor, you know, clouds. It's barely anything.

But cheer up, I'm sure something else that's blown far out of proportion will come along. You can really whip out the histrionics then!

Re:well we're f*****d (4, Insightful)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969343)

Yes CO2 is barely anything compared to water vapor (I'll take your word on that, I don't know). And compared to Nitrogen or even Oxygen it's less than nothing.

However perhaps it is a particularly effective greenhouse gas compared to water vapor, like maybe the how difference between Uranium 235 and Uranium 238 is the difference between a nice metal suitable for armor piercing shells and a nuclear bomb. So when a climatologist tells me it's a critical piece of understanding the climate, I tend to believe them. I'm not a climatologist, are you?

The reason why I believe this is important is because the vast majority of climatologists and other scientists in allied fields tell me so. Why do I believe them? Because they went TO SCHOOL and STUDIED HARD and EARNED LOTS OF DEGREES that I was either unwilling or unable to do. Still I know some of them and, unlike many right wingers, I do not think they are part of some vast conspiracy that only seems to accept smart people as members (or maybe I do!). Even if I didn't know any of them personally, I put my trust in scientists as a profession: when you think of everything SCIENCE has given us; medical tech, aerospace, agriculture, nukes, yes even the computer you're using, they've got a pretty good record.

You know, I don't know if you're a right winger but I've noticed more and more of them suffering from COGNITIVE DISSONANCE as they find their most highly cherished held beliefs overthrown by the facts. Evolution? Well all Biologists must be wrong! The age of the earth being older than 6000 years? Well all Geologists, Astronomers and Physicists must be wrong! Global Warming? Climatologists, Oceanographers... Hell all of science must be wrong! They're all in cohoots to raise my taxes!

Re:well we're f*****d (2, Insightful)

jcupitt65 (68879) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969629)

Sure CO2 only makes a small difference, a few percent. But a few percent change in the atmosphere's warming effect is a degree C. Exactly what the IPCC are warning about.

You can read up on some of the science here:

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/04/water-vapour-feedback-or-forcing [realclimate.org]

It's not difficult and you might find it interesting.

Re:well we're f*****d (3, Interesting)

TempeTerra (83076) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969701)

Disregarding the melodrama of the GP, I know of several good reasons to measure CO_2 throughout the atmosphere and I'm sure the actual scientists know some more.

The atmosphere is actually quite complex, with different layers and surprisingly little mixing between different levels. I mostly know about the southern ozone hole, being from New Zealand which is still pretty fucked by it. The CFCs which destroyed the ozone were released all over the world - mostly in the northern hemisphere even, since that's where the majority of the population is. However the southern polar vortex is the major cause of mixing between the lower and upper atmosphere, so as the CFCs drifted down to Antarctica they were ejected to the upper atmosphere - where the ozone layer is - and reacted with the ozone there eating a big hole in it.

Similarly, CO_2 is released a ground level, but what effect does it have in different layers of the atmosphere? How fast does distribution to different layers occur? With a satellite which could measure this we could build up a body of data correlating CO_2 concentrations in different parts of the atmosphere with climate change and characterise the movement of CO_2 concentrations through the system, giving us an idea of the lead-in time for CO_2 climate change.

As for why CO_2 is important: it's one variable in a complex equation but it's the one we're directly fiddling with.

My prediction: Nasa will launch another satellite, and the research project will be set back 6 months. Yawn.

Re:well we're f*****d (1)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969767)

I'll be really really happy if they can launch another $230M dollar satellite up in 6 months. I'll be even happier if they don't use a Taurus launch vehicle.

Sorry about the melodrama. Been reading a lot about climate feedback loops (melting permafrost releasing CO2 and methane, saturation of Antarctic ocean carbon sinks due to increased storms, etc.).

Re:well we're f*****d (5, Funny)

tpheiska (1145505) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969133)

So we lost a machine that would have given us concrete evidence on the *possible* increase in carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. And now NASA lost it even though they haven't lost an earth orbit bound spacecraft in a while. Let me get my tinfoil hat.

Re:well we're f*****d (1)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969623)

Well, I'm a little concerned about possible feedback mechanisms kicking in that might make our climate problem much worse. Such as the permafrost in Siberia and Canada thawing out which may release a TRILLION tons of CO2 (roughly three times as much as all human activity through history combined). Also the discovery that, with the permafrost thawing, large stores of methane are being released (evidently you can go to lakes in the far north and "light the bubbles" up with a match, very impressive plumes of flame).

There are lots of other possible interactions that might happen (some good; recent TOTAL rainforest CO2 capture may be increasing) but WE JUST DON'T KNOW. It may be a few years until we send up another one, that may be a few years we don't have.

So say there's only a 1% chance of a runaway greenhouse effect. Are you willing to take those odds for the entire planet?

Not the First (1)

knapper_tech (813569) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969789)

Europe lost a satelite [upi.com] a few years ago that was supposed to measure ice melt. Little more than a big coincidence. Any more data on botched climate monitoring missions?

Re:Not the First (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26969871)

These satellites were sabotaged to prevent scientists from proving that climate change is not being caused by man or CO2.

Re:well we're f*****d (-1, Troll)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969157)

There was a scene in the movie "Silent Running" where the command is given to jettison and detonate the last remaining biospheres. The commander says "may god have mercy on us". I'm beginning to feel that way now.

Sounds like quite the retarded movie.

The solution, of course, is to launch more satellites.

Re:well we're f*****d (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26969169)

Stop being so melodramatic. Before doing your Chicken Little impression, at least bother to read up on Japan's satellite that does the same thing as this NASA failure.

Re:well we're f*****d (3, Insightful)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969491)

Good point, I had heard about the Japanese satellite but hadn't really looked into it. Unfortunately it doesn't seem as capable of tracking the carbon dioxide levels.

"OCO's spectrometer will provide greater sensitivity on carbon dioxide measurements but is unable to detect methane. GOSAT's orbit is designed to bring the satellite over the same location more often, allowing the craft's lower resolution instrument to create a new global map every three days."

The real key is whether the Japanese satellite was going to take A SINGLE MEASUREMENT for each data point (that's what appears to be in the articles I've read) or get a reading of the entire atmospheric column (providing a vertical graph of the carbon dioxide level was for each location). NASA had a specific set of three instruments designed to do just that . If the Japanese satellite does that as well then you're probably right I'm overreacting since a three fold drop in resolution is probably still good enough. If not, then there is a vast difference in not just the amount but the TYPE of data returned.

Re:well we're f*****d (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26969621)

Who cares? As long as NASA doesn't have anything to do with it, things will work out fine.

Re:well we're f*****d (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969201)

It's strange, but when I saw the story about the upcoming launch, my first thought was "If there's one mission that I could predict failure of, this is it." Maybe I'm paranoid, but there are so many vested interests in not having accurate data like that, that even short of downright sabotage this mission had the odds stacked against it. When I saw the story this morning, I also got that sinking feeling.

Re:well we're f*****d (1)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969861)

Actually, I was a little worried a while ago when I found out they were using a Taurus launch vehicle (no offense Orbital). I've only heard of Taurus launch vehicles being used with military projects (and I thought they specialized in air-drop launches from a B-52).

Anyway, I wished they had used something like a Delta (no I do not work for McDonnel Douglas/Boeing or who ever else makes them now!).

Re:well we're f*****d (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969609)

^Drama Queen

Re:well we're f*****d (1)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969713)

Ok, ok, as an AC pointed out earlier there is a Japanese probe that *might* be capable of doing an okay job at this. But maybe not.

We've lost eight years thanks to our previous administration and now I'm worrying that major feedback mechanisms might be kicking in that'll make things much worse (permafrost melting leading to CO2 and methane released, saturation of oceanic carbon sinks, etc.). If the Japanese probe doesn't provide us with definitive data one way or another, we may have lost a couple years. Do we have that kind of time?

Re:well we're f*****d (1)

armando_wall (714879) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969685)

Obligatory reference: http://khaaan.com/ [khaaan.com]

Dawns tinfoil hat... (1)

certain death (947081) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969083)

It is a conspiracy man! They don't want us to know the truth about how bad off we are! Ok, back to my reefer smoking...

Re:Dawns tinfoil hat... (1)

FooGoo (98336) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969185)

It is a conspiracy man! They don't want us to know the truth about how good things are! Ok, back to my reefer smoking...

Re:Dawns tinfoil hat... (1)

certain death (947081) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969255)

I see what you did there man...you changed "bad" to "good"... It did take me a minute tho.

Civilization Sabotage! (3, Funny)

Mr_Perl (142164) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969091)

Dear Lincoln,

Ha ha old man, I had to spend much in sabotaging your CO2 monitoring satellite. But now all your base are belong to us.

Signed,
Chairman Mao
Chinese Empire

Re:Civilization Sabotage! (1)

aapold (753705) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969467)

Seriously, if it were going to be sabotaged, China would be a prime suspect. More so than the automakers or even the oil industry...

BLAME CANADA (1)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969811)

Actually I don't think the Chinese would have nearly as much to benefit as from the Canadians (who are always looking for ways to defrost!)

NASA on Twitter (4, Interesting)

opec (755488) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969097)

It's kind of weird, interesting, and depressing to watch this history be made through NASA's Twitter updates [nasa.gov] :
  • The countdown has begun in California for the launch of NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory in less than 1 hour. The stars are out tonight!
  • Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) update: Weather is perfect for launch in less than half an hour.
  • OCO launch update: Liftoff is now set for 4:55 EST. Catch it on www.nasa.gov/ntv
  • OCO launch update: WE HAVE LIFTOFF!
  • OCO launch update: We have Stage 3 ignition. The mission is off to a great start!
  • OCO launch update: We have a mission failure. Press briefing to be held at Vandenberg in approximately 2 hours.

Re:NASA on Twitter (2, Funny)

bughunter (10093) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969497)

That's a pretty accurate (if twitterpated) version of what it's like to be live at a launch that fails... excitement, Excitement, exCITEment, EXCITEMENT... letdown.

Oh dear. (4, Interesting)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969161)

the key satillite designed to monitor global warming and CO2 pollution and hence get scientific data that might affect global business and industrial nations has just nose dived into Antartica?

lets make sure nobody tells the conspiracy theorists, they could have a ball with this one.

Good for the Economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26969223)

NASA should dump ever satellite in the ocean. It's good for jobs. We could have everyone in the country building NASA satellites around the clock. Those would be good paying jobs.

Oh wait,....

lulz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26969275)

effin' hilarious.

From the Reuter's Article (2, Informative)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969289)

The 986-pound (447-kg) spacecraft was tucked inside a clamshell-like shroud to protect it during the ride into space. But three minutes into the flight, the cover failed to separate as expected, dooming the mission.

"As a direct result of carrying that extra weight we could not make orbit," said John Brunschwyler, the Taurus program manager with manufacturer Orbital Sciences Corp.

The spacecraft, also built by Orbital Sciences, fell back to Earth, splashing down into the southern Pacific Ocean near Antarctica.

Great... (1)

zbharucha (1331473) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969305)

Does this mean that the Europa mission goes down the drain now? Will they try to launch a simplified version of this CO2 monitor in the future? Or will they just "move on"?

OH NO! (1)

Logical Zebra (1423045) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969319)

You mean we just put all that CO2 into the atmosphere to launch the satellite for nothing?! And then when it failed to deploy and burnt up on reentry, it put even more carbon into the atmosphere?!

The polar bears! THINK OF THE POLAR BEARS!

Re:OH NO! (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969653)

The polar bears! THINK OF THE POLAR BEARS!

Wrong pole, dude. Think of the penguins.

Conversion error (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26969355)

Apparently, they mistakenly set it for carbon monoxide and it only went up half as high as needed.

CONSPIRACY (1)

knapper_tech (813569) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969443)

This is exactly like the failed launch of a climate monitoring satellite in the movie "The Arrival" where aliens were trying to terraform earth to make it warmer and were trying to keep us complacent by making it impossible for any scientists to ever present conclusive evidence! The aliens, oil companies, and Obama are all in on it! We've elected aliens!

Charlie Sheen was in it! He obviously knows a lot because he's slept with over 5k women!

I'm sick of the government, oil industry, and aliens getting away with shit! Time for some wooden stakes and DNA testing!

soft landing (1)

Zoxed (676559) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969471)

> the craft crashed into the ocean just short of Antarctica.

So luckily it had a softer landing by hitting water instead of some of that hard ice.

Oh. Wait !!

homing missile ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26969479)

Guys, I saied a satellite, not a homing missile :)

Hire the MASA to fix it (0, Redundant)

inthedump (1484859) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969515)

Hire the Mexicans from MASA to fix it!

They'll do it for 1/1000th the cost.

Just one question (1)

Saija (1114681) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969555)

what's the danger of having a failed satellite lying in the Antarctica?
there's some dangerous reactive down there polluting such a fragile enviroment ?

Bad luck for the Taurus (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969697)

Including this launch that makes 6 out of 8 successful launches (i.e. was 6 out of 7). I'm curios about the update though as it would seam to make the initial excuse for the failure a bit invalid as my understanding from initial reports was that the fairing between the final stage and the launch shielding for the payload (yes I know there's a specific word for that but I'm getting on a bit) had failed to detach properly if that was the case then surely the satellite & 3rd stage would still be in orbit.

==

Yes I don't always get my facts right so what?

Failed its mission? Idiot! (1)

fredrated (639554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969831)

It didn't fail its mission, it failed its launch. If its mission was to launch then it failed its mission. However, its mission was to monitor CO2, which it never got a chance to begin.

This will be a BIG impact on orbital (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969849)

Orbital won part of the ISS re-supply contract. But, l-mart and boeing are suing saying that they had a better plan. In point of fact, NASA said that the alternative had better points, etc. Now, Orbital loses an important sat. This may well lose that contract for Orbital or at least allow that partial contract to be cut in half (1/4 of total to each). To be honest, I would not mind seeing that happen. We NEED multiple launchers.

But if that happens, I would love to see Boeing, L-Mart, or even the US buy a bigelow station and attach it to the ISS. If we buy one at costs, it helps bigelow move forward quickly, while expanding the ISS inexpensively. The important thing is that it would get bigelow moving forward which would allow all 3 launch companies to survive and thrive.

Re: (0, Redundant)

clint999 (1277046) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969855)

No, ICBM's would have functioned correctly.
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