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WASHINGTON — A rocket carrying an Earth-observation satellite plummeted into the Pacific Ocean after a failed launch attempt Friday, the second-straight blow to NASA’s weakened environmental monitoring program.
The Taurus XL rocket carrying NASA’s Glory satellite lifted off early Friday morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, but fell to the sea several minutes later. The same thing happened to another climate-monitoring satellite two years ago with the same type of rocket.
“We failed to make orbit,” NASA launch director Omar Baez said at a press conference Friday. “Indications are that the satellite and rocket ... is in the southern Pacific Ocean somewhere.”
The Los Alamos National Laboratory also had a vested interest in the flight.
And understandably, Herbert Funsten, senior scientist of the International, Space and Response Division, was extremely disappointed with the failed launch.
“This is definitely a major setback for NASA climate sciences as well as future missions on Taurus rockets. Our ability to peek into the future is now somewhat blinded,”
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