Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty

Charlene Anderson

Orbiting Carbon Observatory Mishap Report Released

Posted by Charlene Anderson

21-07-2009 17:28 CDT


by Charlene Anderson

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO), a NASA satellite that was to have monitored the sources and sinks of carbon in Earth’s atmosphere, never reached orbit after its launch vehicle failed.  NASA has released the official report on the “mishap.”

The fairing that protected the satellite from the effects of traveling through the atmosphere at launch speeds failed to release OCO, sending it on to destruction. A summary report of the investigation board’s findings is available at:

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)


The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)

CO was designed to track the Earth's carbon cycle and increase scientists' understanding of climate change. Launched on February 24, 2009, it failed to reach orbit and plunged back to Earth.
At that web site, you can also find a NASA document, “Future Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Observations,” that details the scientific needs for a satellite like OCO, and why we must find some way to replace its capabilities.  The Planetary Society is closely watching these developments and will let you know when NASA decides whether to re-fly OCO or find some other way to get the data that are absolutely necessary to understanding how carbon, in its primary atmospheric form of carbon dioxide, is affecting Earth’s climate.

See other posts from July 2009


Or read more blog entries about:


Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search


Advocate for Space!

Fifteen years ago, Society members and passionate space advocates like you helped save the Pluto mission. Now we can do the same for missions to Europa and Mars.

Join over 27,600 people who have completed their petition and consider a donation to support advocacy efforts.

Sign Our Petition

Featured Images

LightSail-B on the bench
Blue Origin New Shepard after first landing
New Shepard test flight and booster landing
Suni Williams and Doug Hurley in Crew Dragon
More Images

Featured Video

MISSIONS: Dawn In The Asteroid Belt With Marc Rayman

Watch Now

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Selfies to Space!

Take flight with a selfie on LightSail™ in 2016!

Send a Selfie Now

Connect With Us

Facebook! Twitter! Google+ and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!