It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Shovel Ready

Please, sir, may we have another?
(CNN) -- A NASA satellite crashed back to Earth about three minutes after launch early Tuesday, officials said.

"We could not make orbit," NASA program manager John Brunschwyler said. "Initial indications are the vehicle did not have enough [force] to reach orbit and landed just short of Antarctica in the ocean."

"Certainly for the science community, it's a huge disappointment."

The $273 million satellite, called the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, would have collected global measurements of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth's atmosphere to help better forecast changes in carbon-dioxide levels and their effect on the Earth's climate.
Hard luck for sure. We all need this thing, and the clean coal people need it especially. Look at the bright side: it's expensive! Plus, all the bureaucratic snags have already been cleared once. It's shovel ready!

I guess rewarding NASA for this is like sending money to bank managers in gratitude for them destroying the banks, though. Maybe we can outsource the launch vehicle to the French or the Chinese?


Dano said...

I can see a Clancy novel plot where Cheney orders someone to sabotage the satellite.

Too lazy/deadlined to look it up, but is this the one mothballed for 99 months because of BushCo?



Michael Tobis said...

No, I'm pretty sure this is a different one. Not likely they could get the DSCOVR thing out of mothballs and onto a launch mission that quickly.

It is an interesting question, though, what will happen to DSCOVR now.

No idea what would motivate someone to lose this particular thing, though. Without good CO2 info, no CCS. Without CCS, the pressure on fossil fuels goes up.

Dano said...

No idea what would motivate someone to lose this particular thing, though.

Hold your nose and go over to CA or Watts and ask this. You'll get a minimum of 227 comments telling you what, why, and how.



Oakden Wolf said...

IN the grand tradition of the wildly successful QuikSCAT and the unsuccessful (the other Taurus launch failure) QuikTOMS, I suspect NASA will have the wherewithal to try again.

Here's a recent article about DSCOVR: