- Running on empty: EPA slashes biofuel goals because of ethanol shortage
- ‘Gay Jeans’ that fade into rainbow-colored denim created
- Divided court strikes down big porn award
- Jimmy Carter: Don’t hurt Russian people with sanctions
- Oldest ex-MLB player dies in Cuba, 2 days shy of 103rd birthday
- ‘Top Gun’ for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy’s approval
- Bill Clinton to endorse Charlie Rangel for re-election
- Pfc. Bradley Manning is now Pfc. Chelsea Manning: Court says so
- Secret base U.S. special forces used to train Libyans now under terrorist control: report
- 9th suspect in N.C. kidnapping turns self in to FBI
NASA: Rocket probably in ocean after failed launch
WASHINGTON (AP) — A rocket carrying an Earth-observation satellite is in the Pacific Ocean after a failed launch attempt, NASA officials said Friday.
During a press conference Friday officials explained that a protective shell or fairing atop the rocket did not separate from the satellite as it should have about three minutes after the launch. That left the Glory spacecraft without the velocity to reach orbit.
NASA suffered a similar mishap two years ago when a satellite that would have studied global warming crashed into the ocean near Antarctica after launching from the same kind of rocket that carried Glory. Officials said Friday that Glory likely wound up landing near where the previous satellite did.
“We failed to make orbit,” NASA launch director Omar Baez said Friday. “Indications are that the satellite and rocket … is in the southern Pacific Ocean somewhere.”
Had Glory reached orbit it would have been on a three-year mission to analyze how airborne particles affect Earth’s climate. Besides monitoring particles in the atmosphere, it would also have tracked solar radiation to determine the sun’s effect on climate change.
Glory was supposed to study tiny atmospheric particles known as aerosols, which reflect and trap sunlight. The vast majority occurs naturally, spewed into the atmosphere by volcanoes, forest fires and desert storms. Aerosols can also come from manmade sources such as the burning of fossil fuel.
The $424 million mission is managed by the NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.
Friday’s launch came after engineers spent more than a week troubleshooting a glitch that led to a last-minute scrub and two years studying what went wrong with the 2009 mission that also crashed.
An accident board was formed to investigate and corrective action was taken to prevent future problems. A duplicate is now scheduled to fly from Vandenberg in 2013.
Investigators spent several months testing hardware, interviewing engineers and reviewing data and documents. The probe did not find evidence of widespread testing negligence or management shortcomings, but NASA declined to release the full accident report, citing sensitive and proprietary information.
TWT Video Picks
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Obama's veil of secrecy is pierced
- 'Top Gun' for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy's approval
- Pentagon plans to replace flight crews with 'full-time' robots
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Obama avoids 'red line' for China, prepared to impose tougher sanctions on Russia
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- Texas is next! AG warns BLM wants 90,000 acres after Bundy ranch standoff
- Russian bombers buzz U.K. airspace; jets scrambled to chase off 'Bears'
- Kansas will nullify local regulation of guns
- ISTOOK: Obama's sleight of hand hides hidden government's work
- CARSON: When government looks more like foe than friend
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Celebrity deaths in 2014