WASHINGTON (AFP) — A US satellite to monitor global carbon dioxide emissions failed to reach orbit early Tuesday and crashed into the ocean near Antarctica, an official said at a NASA press conference.
"The vehicle... landed just short of Antarctica in the ocean," announced John Brunschwyler, program director for the Taurus launch rocket at the private company Orbital Sciences Corporation.
NASA said the satellite launched successfully from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California aboard a Taurus XL rocket, at 1:55 am (0951 GMT), but a fatal mission error occured minutes after liftoff when a clamshell-like fairing that protects the satellite during its ascent failed to separate properly.
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