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Commercial and US Government Launch Vehicles => Orbital ATK - Antares/Cygnus Mission Section => Topic started by: faustod on 11/09/2008 10:03 AM

Title: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: faustod on 11/09/2008 10:03 AM
The Taurus XL Stages and motors have been moved into Orbital Sciences' Hangar 1555 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The Taurus XL will launch NASA's OCO, spacecraft.

Images from NASA KSC Multimedia.
http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/search.cfm?cat=187
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on January 15, 2009.
Post by: edkyle99 on 11/09/2008 04:58 PM
Interesting.  The most recent images show a first stage motor labeled "C120-018", presumably indicating the 18th Castor 120 motor.  Previous images showed a Taurus being moved into the 1555 building this past summer.  That Castor 120 looked different, and sported a "BF-009" number.  Is it the same motor repainted, or a different motor altogether?  Perhaps the mid-summer vehicle was a pathfinder, since it has been more than four years since one of these things flew.

EDIT:  Answering my own question, the mid-summer images show the first, second, and third stages of the Taurus XL.  The November images show the arrival of the Castor 120 motor, which is "Stage Zero".  (It has been four years since *I've* seen one of these things too!)

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on January 15, 2009.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 11/09/2008 08:11 PM
Hmm, there are images up for Taurus 3110 and NOAA-N' Prime, yet it seems that TacSat-3/GeneSat-2/PharmaSat 1/HawkSat-I/Polysat-CP6 have nothing up, how is processing for that Minotaur mission?
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on January 15, 2009.
Post by: Antares on 11/10/2008 05:52 AM
That Minotaur mission is not a NASA-procured launch, hence no pictures at that site.
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on January 15, 2009.
Post by: antonioe on 11/14/2008 02:32 AM
I may also add, we've shipped the OCO spacecraft to Vandenberg:

http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/release.asp?prid=677

Once again, an Orbital-designed and -build spacecraft is launched on an Orbital-designed and -built LV.  And, remember, Launch Vehicle's aren't much of end product unless there is a spacecraft to be launched by them!  ;)

By the way, DWT regards OCO as perhaps "the most important spacecraft Orbital ever built, given its long-term impact on the quality of life here on Earth".
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on January 15, 2009.
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/14/2008 12:13 PM
By the way, DWT regards OCO as perhaps "the most important spacecraft Orbital ever built, given its long-term impact on the quality of life here on Earth".

Shame on DWT, putting the earth ahead of profits ;) What have you been slipping in his coolaid?
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on January 15, 2009.
Post by: antonioe on 11/15/2008 09:07 PM
Like many former staunch republicans, the last eight years have shaken him considerably... he has been seen meeting in a dark alley with... gulp!  Al Gore!!! :o :o :o
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on January 15, 2009.
Post by: jacqmans on 11/19/2008 01:24 AM
STATUS REPORT: ELV-111808

EXPENDABLE LAUNCH VEHICLE STATUS REPORT

Mission: Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)
Launch Vehicle: Taurus XL (Orbital Sciences)
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 756-E, Vandenberg Air Force Base,
Calif.
Launch Date: NET Jan. 15, 2009
Launch Window: TBD

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base
on Nov. 11. It was shipped from spacecraft facilities in Dulles, Va.,
by Orbital Sciences, builder of the spacecraft. The following day it
was removed from its shipping container and placed on a test stand at
the Astrotech payload processing facility located on north
Vandenberg. On Nov. 13, the protective coverings over the spacecraft
were removed so that processing could begin.

Processing of the Taurus launch vehicle is under way by Orbital
Sciences in Hangar 1555 on north Vandenberg. Installation of the UHF
communications antenna occurred this week. Telemetry testing is
scheduled for next week. Thermal protection system insulation and
electrical work is also under way on "Stage 0." Preparations are also
under way at the launch pad to prepare it to receive Stage 0 next
month.

Some additional tests need to be performed on the electronics control
unit (ECU) on the first stage. These additional tests are deemed
necessary for the vehicle to be fully flight qualified. It is not
clear yet how much time this will take, but it is expected to affect
the planned launch date of mid-January. Coordination with the Western
Range will also be necessary to determine the earliest launch date
available.
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on January 15, 2009.
Post by: jacqmans on 11/22/2008 02:30 AM
STATUS REPORT: ELV-112108

EXPENDABLE LAUNCH VEHICLE STATUS REPORT

Mission: Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)
Launch Vehicle: Taurus XL (Orbital Sciences)
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 576-E, Vandenberg Air Force Base,
Calif.
Launch Date: No Earlier Than Jan. 15, 2009
Launch Window: TBD

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base,
Calif., on Nov. 11. It was shipped from spacecraft facilities in
Dulles, Va., by Orbital Sciences, builder of the spacecraft. The
following day it was removed from its shipping container and placed
on a test stand at the Astrotech payload processing facility located
on north Vandenberg.

On Nov. 13, the protective coverings over the spacecraft were removed
so that processing could begin. Blanket preparations and edge taping
on the spacecraft were completed and final closeouts began Nov. 19.
Mechanical preparations and work on the electronic ground support
equipment were completed today. A protective covering was placed
around the spacecraft.

Processing of the Taurus launch vehicle is under way by Orbital
Sciences in Hangar 1555 on north Vandenberg. Installation of the UHF
communications antenna occurred this week. Telemetry testing is
scheduled for next week. Thermal protection system insulation and
electrical work is also under way on "Stage 0." Preparations are also
under way at the launch pad to prepare it to receive Stage 0 next
month.

Some additional tests need to be performed on the electronics control
unit, or ECU, on the first stage. These additional tests are deemed
necessary for the vehicle to be fully flight qualified. It is not
clear yet how much time this will take, but it is expected to affect
the planned launch date of mid-January. Coordination with the Western
Range will also be necessary to determine the earliest launch date
available.
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on January 15, 2009.
Post by: jacqmans on 12/05/2008 02:55 PM
STATUS REPORT: ELV-120408

EXPENDABLE LAUNCH VEHICLE STATUS REPORT

Mission: Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)
Launch Vehicle: Taurus XL (Orbital Sciences)
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 576-E, Vandenberg Air Force Base,
Calif.
Launch Date: No Earlier Than Jan. 30, 2009
Launch Window: TBD

The work to prepare the OCO spacecraft for launch continues to go
well. Testing of the spacecraft systems and science instruments is
complete. The next step is to fuel the spacecraft and perform flight
battery reconditioning.

Testing and prelaunch preparations continue on the Taurus launch
vehicle by Orbital Sciences in Hangar 1555 on north Vandenberg.
Launch vehicle flight simulations are scheduled to begin during the
third week of December.

Some additional testing is being performed on the electronics control
unit (ECU) on the first stage deemed appropriate to assure the
vehicle is fully flight qualified. Approximately two weeks of
additional time in the schedule is necessary to accommodate the
testing. The launch is now targeted for no earlier than Jan. 30 and
is subject to the availability of the Western Range.
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on January 15, 2009.
Post by: jacqmans on 12/18/2008 09:35 AM
STATUS REPORT: ELV-121708

EXPENDABLE LAUNCH VEHICLE STATUS REPORT

Mission: Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)
Launch Vehicle: Taurus XL (Orbital Sciences)
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 576-E, Vandenberg Air Force Base,
Calif.
Launch Date: Feb. 23, 2009
Launch Time: 1:53 a.m. PST (tentative)

Due to the availability of the Western Range, the launch of OCO is
being rescheduled to Feb. 23. A new schedule of spacecraft and launch
vehicle processing is currently being developed to support that date.

The work to prepare the OCO spacecraft for launch has gone well.
Fueling the spacecraft is expected to occur during the week of Jan.
12.

Testing and prelaunch preparations continue on the Taurus launch
vehicle by Orbital Sciences in Hangar 1555 on north Vandenberg.
Loading of software into the Taurus flight computer is under way this
week.
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on January 15, 2009.
Post by: jacqmans on 01/07/2009 08:42 AM
Mission: Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)
Launch Vehicle: Taurus XL (Orbital Sciences)
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 576-E, Vandenberg AFB
Launch Date: February 23, 2009
Launch Time: 1:50:29 a.m. PST

The work to prepare the OCO spacecraft for launch will resume with
preparations for fueling, currently planned for Saturday. Fueling the
spacecraft will then be performed next week. A spacecraft limited
performance test will follow. The operation to install the payload
fairing around the spacecraft is scheduled to begin Feb. 9.

Testing and prelaunch preparations continue on the Taurus launch
vehicle by Orbital Sciences in Hangar 1555 on north Vandenberg. A
launch vehicle verification test will be performed on Jan. 12 with a
flight simulation planned for Jan. 15.
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: jacqmans on 01/16/2009 06:27 PM
Mission: Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)
Launch Vehicle: Taurus XL (Orbital Sciences)
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 576-E, Vandenberg AFB
Launch Date: Feb. 23, 2009
Launch Time: 1:51 a.m. PST (7 min., 30 sec. launch window)

In the Astrotech payload processing facility, fueling of the OCO
spacecraft was completed this week as planned. The spacecraft will be
placed into the payload fairing on Feb. 7.

On the Taurus launch vehicle in Building 1555 on north Vandenberg, a
flight simulation test is scheduled for Jan. 19. Stage 1 is then
planned to be mated to Stage 2 on Jan. 22.

Stage 0, the stage providing the initial liftoff thrust, will be
hoisted into position at the launch pad on Jan. 28. The payload/upper
launch vehicle integrated stack is planned to be hoisted on top of
Stage 0 on Feb. 16.
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: jacqmans on 01/22/2009 04:36 PM
MEDIA ADVISORY: M09-014

NASA TO HOLD MEDIA BRIEFING ABOUT NEW GLOBAL CARBON DIOXIDE MISSION

WASHINGTON -- NASA will hold a media briefing on Thursday, Jan. 29, at
11 a.m. EST to discuss the upcoming Orbiting Carbon Observatory
mission, the first NASA spacecraft dedicated to studying carbon
dioxide. The televised briefing will take place in the James E. Webb
Memorial Auditorium at NASA Headquarters, 300 E St. S.W., Washington.


Set for launch Feb. 23 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California,
the experimental Orbiting Carbon Observatory will map the global
distribution of carbon dioxide, the leading human-produced greenhouse
gas driving changes in Earth's climate.

The briefing participants are:
- Eric Ianson, Orbiting Carbon Observatory program executive, Science
Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
- David Crisp, Orbiting Carbon Observatory principal investigator,
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
- Charles Miller, Orbiting Carbon Observatory deputy principal
investigator, JPL
- Ralph Basilio, Orbiting Carbon Observatory deputy project manager,
JPL
- Anna Michalak, Orbiting Carbon Observatory science team member,
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Reporters may ask questions from participating NASA locations or by
telephone. To reserve a telephone line, contact J.D. Harrington by
e-mail at j.d.harrington@nasa.gov.

For more information about NASA TV downlink and streaming video,
visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

For more information about NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/oco

Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: bad_astra on 01/22/2009 05:18 PM
Go Orbital!
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: antonioe on 01/23/2009 02:33 AM
Go Orbital!

Thanks... we've got a lot riding on this one...
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: scienceguy on 01/23/2009 02:53 AM
It's funny how it's called "OCO" and it's measuring carbon dioxide, when the formula for carbon dioxide is O=C=O.
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: DaveS on 01/23/2009 03:47 AM
It's funny how it's called "OCO" and it's measuring carbon dioxide, when the formula for carbon dioxide is O=C=O.
I thought chemical formula for carbon dioxide was CO2.
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: scienceguy on 01/23/2009 03:54 AM
Well, yeah it's CO2, but in organic chemistry you can draw it as O=C=O. Just like calling acetic acid CH3COOH instead of C2O2H4.

CH3COOH implies the structure:

    H  O
     |   ||
H--C--C--O--H
     |
    H
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: antonioe on 01/23/2009 11:52 AM
It's funny how it's called "OCO" and it's measuring carbon dioxide, when the formula for carbon dioxide is O=C=O.
... and you think it's a coincidence?...
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: jacqmans on 01/23/2009 10:01 PM
Mission: Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)
Launch Vehicle: Taurus XL (Orbital Sciences)
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 576-E, Vandenberg Air Force Base,
Calif.
Launch Date: Feb. 23, 2009
Launch Time: 1:51 a.m. PST (7 min., 30 sec. launch window)

In processing activities on the Taurus launch vehicle in Building 1555
on north Vandenberg, thermal blanket and avionics subsystem
installation is under way. Stage 1 is planned to be mated to Stage 2
between Jan. 24 and Jan. 26. Flight Simulation No. 2 is currently
planned for Jan. 27. Flight Simulation No. 3 is currently planned for
Feb. 11.

Stage 0, the stage providing the initial liftoff thrust, will be
hoisted into position at the launch pad on Jan. 30. The spacecraft
will be encapsulated into the payload fairing on Feb. 7. The
spacecraft is planned to be integrated with the Taurus third stage on
Feb. 3. Finally, the payload/upper launch vehicle integrated stack is
planned to be hoisted atop Stage 0 on Feb. 16.
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: ineedalife999 on 01/24/2009 04:39 PM
Seriously, just check out the mission logo:

http://oco.jpl.nasa.gov/images/oco_logo_partners_br.jpg (http://oco.jpl.nasa.gov/images/oco_logo_partners_br.jpg)
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: antonioe on 01/24/2009 10:46 PM
Most Earth Sciences undergraduate curricula these days require Acronomy 101 as a mandatory subject (Ac-ron-om-y n: The art or practice of creating, popularizing and convincing people to use witty or ingenious acronyms and initialisms)
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 01/29/2009 03:05 PM
graphics from the OCO NASAtv program
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 01/29/2009 03:07 PM
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: jacqmans on 01/29/2009 03:16 PM
RELEASE: 09-021

NASA MISSION TO HELP UNRAVEL KEY CARBON, CLIMATE MYSTERIES

WASHINGTON -- NASA's first spacecraft dedicated to studying
atmospheric carbon dioxide is in final preparations for a Feb. 23
launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Carbon dioxide
is the leading human-produced greenhouse gas driving changes in
Earth's climate.

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory will provide the first complete
picture of human and natural carbon dioxide sources as well as their
"sinks," the places where carbon dioxide is pulled out of the
atmosphere and stored. It will map the global geographic distribution
of these sources and sinks and study their changes over time. The
measurements will be combined with data from ground stations,
aircraft and other satellites to help answer questions about the
processes that regulate atmospheric carbon dioxide and its role in
Earth's climate and carbon cycle.

Mission data will help scientists reduce uncertainties in predicting
future carbon dioxide increases and make more accurate climate change
predictions. Policymakers and business leaders can use the data to
make more informed decisions that improve the quality of life on
Earth.

"It's critical that we understand the processes controlling carbon
dioxide in our atmosphere today so we can predict how fast it will
build up in the future and how quickly we'll have to adapt to climate
change caused by carbon dioxide buildup," said David Crisp, principal
investigator for the Orbiting Carbon Observatory at NASA's Jet
Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

"OCO's carbon dioxide measurements will be pivotal in advancing our
knowledge of virtually all Earth system land, atmosphere, and ocean
processes," said Michael Freilich, director of NASA's Earth Science
Division in Washington. "They will play crucial roles in refining our
knowledge of climate forcings and Earth's response processes."

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is determined by
the balance between its sources and the sinks where it is absorbed on
land and in the ocean. Human activities, particularly fossil fuel
burning and deforestation, have upset Earth's carbon cycle balance.
Since the Industrial Revolution began in 1750, atmospheric carbon
dioxide has increased from about 280 parts per million to about 385
parts per million. Climate models indicate increased greenhouse gases
have been the primary driver of Earth's increasing surface
temperature.

Of all the carbon humans have added to Earth's atmosphere since the
start of the Industrial Revolution, only about 40 percent has
remained in Earth's atmosphere. About half of the remaining 60
percent can be accounted for in Earth's ocean. The rest must have
been absorbed somewhere on land, but scientists cannot yet determine
specifically where this is taking place or what controls the
efficiency of these land sinks. Scientists refer to this as the
"missing" carbon sink.

The new observatory will dramatically improve global carbon dioxide
measurements, collecting about 8 million measurements every 16 days
for at least two years with the precision, resolution and coverage
needed to characterize carbon dioxide's global distribution.
Scientists need these precise measurements because carbon dioxide
varies by just 10 parts per million throughout the year on regional
to continental scales.

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory's three high-resolution spectrometers
spread reflected sunlight into its various colors like a prism. Each
spectrometer focuses on a different, narrow color range, detecting
light with the specific colors absorbed by carbon dioxide and
molecular oxygen. The less carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere,
the more light the spectrometers detect. By analyzing the amount of
light, scientists can determine relative concentrations of these
chemicals. The data will then be input into computer models of the
global atmosphere to quantify carbon dioxide sources and sinks.

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory will be launched on a Taurus XL rocket
into a 438-mile near-polar orbit. It will lead five other NASA
satellites that cross the equator each day shortly after noon, making
a wide range of nearly simultaneous Earth observations.

JPL manages the Orbiting Carbon Observatory for NASA's Science Mission
Directorate in Washington. Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles,
Va., built the spacecraft and the Taurus XL rocket and provides
mission operations under JPL leadership. NASA's Launch Services
Program at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., leads launch and
countdown management.

For more information about the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/oco
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: John44 on 01/30/2009 04:46 PM
 Orbiting Carbon Observatory Mission L-30 Briefing
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4664
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: Ford Mustang on 01/30/2009 06:18 PM
Mission: Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)
Launch Vehicle: Taurus XL (Orbital Sciences)
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 576-E, Vandenberg Air Force Base,
Calif.
Launch Date: Feb. 23, 2009
Launch Time: 1:51 a.m. PST (7 min., 30 sec. launch window)

OCO spacecraft battery conditioning begins next week in preparation
for launch. Work is also under way to prepare the spacecraft to be
mated to the payload attach fitting. The spacecraft will be
encapsulated into the payload fairing beginning on Feb. 7.

In launch preparations for the Taurus launch vehicle, Stage 0, the
stage providing the initial liftoff thrust, was hoisted into position
at the launch pad Thursday.

Meanwhile, Stage 1 and Stage 2 have been integrated. The first phase
of Flight Simulation No. 2 has been completed. The second phase will
be completed on Feb. 5. Flight Simulation No. 3 is currently planned
for Feb. 11.

The encapsulated OCO spacecraft is planned to be integrated with the
Taurus third stage on Feb. 13. Finally, the payload/upper launch
vehicle integrated stack is planned to be hoisted atop Stage 0 on
Feb. 16.
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: faustod on 01/31/2009 06:55 AM
The OCO logo:
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/02/2009 05:55 PM
OCO video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohzLZFIkHIw
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: jacqmans on 02/06/2009 12:52 PM
February 5, 2009


NASA Carbon Mission to Improve Future Climate Change Predictions

Recent years have seen an increase in record-setting events related to climate change. For example, 2005 was the warmest year globally in more than a century, and in 2007, Arctic sea ice retreated more than in any other time in recorded history. A new NASA mission set to launch later this month will help scientists better understand the most important human-produced greenhouse gas contributing to climate change: carbon dioxide. Called the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, the satellite may help us better predict how our climate may change in the future.

Scientists rely on models to forecast future impacts of carbon dioxide on Earth's climate. When the carbon dioxide concentrations used in, or predicted by, these models are not accurate, the resulting climate projections can have a large degree of uncertainty. To accurately predict atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations in the future, we need to understand natural and human sources of carbon dioxide, as well as the natural "sinks" that remove this gas from our atmosphere. 

The rapid buildup of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels is a relatively well understood and predictable source. Other impacts, however, such as forestry and agricultural practices, which can act as either sources or sinks, are far harder to predict with confidence. More importantly, measurements from a global network of greenhouse gas monitoring stations indicate that more than half of the carbon dioxide emitted by human activities is currently being absorbed by the ocean and by plants on land. But the current ground-based carbon dioxide monitoring network does not have the coverage or resolution needed to identify sufficiently the natural sinks responsible for absorbing this carbon dioxide. In addition, the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by natural sinks varies dramatically from year to year, for reasons that are largely unknown. Because the nature, location and processes controlling these natural sinks are not well understood, it is impossible to accurately predict how much carbon dioxide they might absorb in the future as the climate changes. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory aims to help resolve these and other open carbon-cycle questions. 

"The Orbiting Carbon Observatory will provide the initial steps in the journey of measuring carbon dioxide from space, and the discoveries will be profound-we'll gather basic information about the distribution of carbon that we wouldn't have been able to do any other way," says Graeme Stephens of Colorado State University, Fort Collins, a co-investigator on the Orbiting Carbon Observatory science team.

Researchers have shown that warming, particularly from greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide, is driving Earth's climate toward "tipping points." Those are the points at which temperatures could set in motion processes that are very difficult to reverse. One potential example is the runaway disintegration of Arctic sea ice and of the West Antarctic ice sheet. In this scenario, warmer temperatures melt more ice and create more open water, which absorbs more heat. This, in turn, melts more ice, in a process that feeds upon itself. 

Research by James Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, and colleagues suggests that to avoid dangerous tipping points, Earth's atmosphere should be limited to a carbon dioxide concentration of 450 parts per million at the most, and potentially much lower. Today, the level of carbon dioxide is about 385 parts per million, and over the last few decades that number has been rising by about two parts per million per year. But arriving at models that accurately predict how carbon dioxide levels will change in the future depends, in part, on whether researchers can collect enough data to untangle the mysteries of the carbon cycle. 

 "As human-caused emissions change, what will happen to the carbon budget [the contribution of carbon dioxide's various sources]?" Stephens asked. "There's a gross lack of understanding as to where the re-absorbed carbon is going because it's currently impossible to make global observations to see how carbon dioxide varies on both global and regional scales." 

Currently, a sparse network of stations across the globe collects precise measurements of carbon dioxide near Earth's surface, but the number of stations is limited and most are located far away from power plants, automobiles and other sources of carbon dioxide. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory will complement the ground-based network by collecting thousands of times as many measurements over the sunlit side of Earth. The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite now routinely provides global maps of carbon dioxide at altitudes between 5 and 13 kilometers (3 and 8 miles) high, where it is most efficient as a greenhouse gas. Orbiting Carbon Observatory measurements will complement those from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder because they are much more sensitive to the concentration of carbon dioxide near Earth's surface, where most of it is emitted by sources or absorbed by sinks. 

Measurements from ground stations and the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder have already shown that the level of carbon dioxide is more varied throughout the atmosphere than was previously believed. The levels fluctuate with weather and temperature and are influenced by land plants and the ocean. It's the goal of carbon cycle models to explain and ultimately predict the response of this complex system. 

"It's like a domino effect," Stephens said. "The climate system is so interconnected, and the carbon dioxide system is an integral part of that system."

A new generation of climate modelers already considers the interactions of carbon between land, ocean and atmosphere. These models predict that the growth rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide and of global warming will accelerate as Earth's land and ocean show a decreased capacity to absorb carbon dioxide. But with the current scant observations of the carbon system, the magnitude and timing of such model predictions are highly uncertain. The next generation of carbon-climate models will better represent these systems, thanks to more abundant global carbon dioxide data from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory and other future satellite missions. And while the data from these new satellites may not be as precise as data from ground stations, the models will nonetheless improve due to the tremendous volume of data from across the globe and throughout the atmosphere. 

Researchers expect the volume of carbon dioxide data to increase dramatically. "This is tremendous," says Inez Fung of the University of California, Berkeley, a co-investigator on the Orbiting Carbon Observatory science team. "There is much horizontal and vertical variation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to sources and sinks and turbulent mixing processes that vary between day and night, from place to place, and from season to season. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory will give scientists a much more complete global picture of how the carbon cycle works." 

The observatory will measure the percentage of carbon dioxide present within columns of the atmosphere that span less than 4.1 square kilometers (1.6 square miles) on the surface and extend all the way up to the satellite 705 kilometers (438 miles) above. "This is a major advance over the traditional surface observations, which are sparse and which sample only at fixed heights and mostly near the ground," Fung said.

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory information will allow researchers to "see" for the first time carbon dioxide sources and sinks. The information will allow researchers to assess, or "rank," the performance of carbon-climate models and will help to flag areas that need additional study. Researchers also expect the observatory to turn up surprises where little or no carbon dioxide data have been taken, such as over Africa, Eurasia and the open ocean. 

"I am extremely excited-I have been working on the carbon cycle for over 25 years and have been hampered by the data scarcity," Fung said. "Christmas is coming." 

For more information on the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, see: http://www.nasa.gov/oco .

This image shows the past half-century of carbon dioxide trends, beginning in 1950 when global industrialization took off. A more complete understanding of Earth's carbon cycle gained from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory will help researchers arrive at models that better predict future trends. Credit: NASA


-end-


Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: Ford Mustang on 02/06/2009 09:42 PM
Mission: Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)
Launch Vehicle: Taurus XL (Orbital Sciences)
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 576-E, Vandenberg Air Force Base,
Calif.
Launch Date: Feb. 23, 2009
Launch Time: 1:51 a.m. PST (7 min., 30 sec. launch window)

The OCO spacecraft is being mated to the payload attach fitting
Friday. Encapsulating the spacecraft into the fairing halves begins
this weekend with the first half on Feb. 7 and the second half on
Feb. 9. OCO will then go to the launch pad on Feb. 10.

The upper launch vehicle stack, consisting of Taurus stages 1, 2 and
3, was transported to the launch pad on Feb. 3, joining Stage 0.
Technicians plan to integrate the encapsulated OCO spacecraft with
the Taurus third stage on Feb. 13. Finally, the payload/upper launch
vehicle integrated stack is set to be hoisted atop Stage 0 on Feb.
16.

Taurus Flight Simulation No. 3 currently is planned for Feb. 11.
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: eeergo on 02/09/2009 09:19 PM
There's a videochat at NASA's site this evening for anyone interested (and not living in a totally unfortunate time zone for the event!):

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/oco/news/ocob-20090205.html (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/oco/news/ocob-20090205.html)

Also, some images (which are a bit hilarious, admit it) of the fueling process with SCAPE suits... Arianespace's are a bit more ergonimic.
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: Antares on 02/14/2009 01:41 AM
This article from the satellite collision thread talks about threats to the A-train orbit, where OCO is supposed to go.  Any talk of delays?

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/state/orl-satellite1309feb13,0,1752465.story
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: antonioe on 02/14/2009 01:53 AM
FWIW as of 5 pm today (Friday the 13th!) JR and Ron Grabe are scheduled to be at VAFB on the 23rd for the launch.  I was thinking about going myself, but I've had so much travel recently that I think I'll punt (I would be a tourist there, anyway - not my rocket, not my satellite).
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: Danderman on 02/14/2009 03:43 PM
How do the instruments on this spacecraft compare with those on the recently launched Japanese GOSAT?
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: ineedalife999 on 02/14/2009 08:30 PM
As for the debris problem:

The satellite is already built, as is the Taurus.  The rocket is already being stacked, and the satellite should be buttoned up by now inside the fairing.  Since the A-Train probably can't be moved significantly out of the way, and there are already 5 birds up there with 2 more almost ready to go, I'd guess that NASA would just go ahead and launch OCO (and later this year Glory) and hope for the best.

Just my take on it though.
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: faustod on 02/15/2009 06:15 PM
Images from NASA KSC Multimedia, about the OCO satellite:
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/16/2009 09:25 PM
View of Space Launch Complex 576-E on VAFB Webcams:

http://countdown.ksc.nasa.gov/elv/index-vafb.html
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: ineedalife999 on 02/16/2009 10:45 PM
Any reason for the one day slip?
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: Ford Mustang on 02/17/2009 01:49 AM
Mission: Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)
Launch Vehicle: Taurus XL (Orbital Sciences)
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 576-E, Vandenberg Air Force Base,
Calif.
Launch Date: Feb. 24, 2009
Launch Time: 1:51:30 a.m. PST

The launch of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory has been rescheduled by
one day to Feb. 24. The spacecraft is being mated to the Taurus third
stage Monday. However, because the associated electrical closeouts in
preparation for the mate took longer than anticipated, the launch was
postponed 24 hours due to no remaining schedule margin. The targeted
liftoff time is 1:51:30 a.m. PST.

The integrated stack consisting of OCO and Taurus stages 1, 2 and 3
will be hoisted atop Stage 0 on Wednesday, Feb. 18. Also on
Wednesday, a launch countdown dress rehearsal will be performed.

OCO was encapsulated into the fairing halves on Feb. 8 and Feb. 9,
then transported to the launch pad on Feb. 11.
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/17/2009 09:10 PM
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: Ford Mustang on 02/17/2009 11:13 PM
This is a long one.  Sorry.  Chris, edit out if you want.



MEDIA ADVISORY: M09-025

NASA ORBITING CARBON OBSERVATORY ON A TAURUS XL READY FOR LAUNCH

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The launch of NASA's Orbiting
Carbon Observatory, or OCO, aboard a Taurus XL rocket is scheduled
for Feb. 24. Liftoff from Space Launch Complex 576-E at Vandenberg
Air Force Base, Calif., is set for 1:51:30 a.m. PST during a
four-and-a-half-minute launch window. The spacecraft's final polar
orbit will be 438 miles.

OCO is NASA's first spacecraft dedicated to studying atmospheric
carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is the leading human-produced
greenhouse gas driving changes in the Earth's climate. OCO will
provide the first complete picture of human and natural carbon
dioxide sources as well as their "sinks," the places where carbon
dioxide is pulled out of the atmosphere and stored. It will map the
global geographic distribution of these sources and sinks and study
their changes over time. The new observatory will dramatically
improve global carbon dioxide data, collecting about eight million
precise measurements every 16 days for at least two years.

ACCREDITATION

News media desiring accreditation for the launch of OCO should fax
their request on news organization letterhead to:

Lt. Justin Jessop
30th Space Wing Public Affairs Office
Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

FAX: 805-606-8303
Telephone: 805-606-3595
E-mail: justin.jessop@vandenberg.af.mil

Information required for U.S. media is full legal name, date of birth
and media affiliation.

PRELAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE

Monday, Feb. 23: A prelaunch news conference will be held at 9 a.m.
PST in the 2nd floor conference room of the NASA Vandenberg Resident
Office, Building 840, at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Question-and-answer capability will be available from participating
NASA locations. The news conference briefers will be:

Eric Ianson, OCO program executive
NASA Headquarters

Chuck Dovale, NASA launch director
Kennedy Space Center

John Brunschwyler, Taurus program manager
Orbital Sciences Corporation

Ralph Basilio, OCO deputy project manager
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

Capt. Damon Vorhees, launch weather officer, 30th Weather Squadron
Vandenberg Air Force Base

OCO MISSON SCIENCE BRIEING

Immediately following the OCO prelaunch news conference will be an OCO
mission science briefing. Participating will be:

David Crisp, OCO principal investigator
JPL

Charles Miller, OCO deputy principal investigator
JPL

Media desiring to cover the prelaunch news conference should meet at
the south gate of Vandenberg Air Force Base on California State Road
246 at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 23. They will be escorted by 30th
Space Wing Public Affairs to the NASA Vandenberg Resident Office.

TAURUS XL PHOTO OPPORTUNITY

Monday, Feb. 23: Immediately following the prelaunch news conference,
there will be an opportunity for the media to see and photograph the
Orbital Sciences Taurus XL at the launch pad with OCO encapsulated in
the payload fairing atop the rocket. Media will be escorted from the
news conference to the launch pad. Photographers not desiring to
attend the news conference should meet at the pass and identification
building at the Vandenberg main gate on California State Road 1 at
10:30 a.m. to be escorted to the launch pad.

REMOTE CAMERAS

Monday, Feb. 23: Media desiring to establish sound-activated remote
cameras at the launch pad should meet at the pass and identification
building located at the Vandenberg main gate on California State Road
1 at 10:30 a.m. to be escorted to the launch pad.

LAUNCH DAY PRESS COVERAGE

Monday, Feb. 23: Media covering the OCO/Taurus XL launch should meet
at 1 a.m. at the Vandenberg main gate located on California State
Road 1 to be escorted to the press viewing site. Press credentials
and identification from a bona fide news organization will be
required for access. Driver's license alone will not be sufficient.

After launch, media will be escorted back to the gate or escorted to
the NASA Mission Director's Center for quotes from launch management
officials, if desired.

NASA TELEVISION COVERAGE

The prelaunch news conference and coverage of the launch will be
carried live on NASA Television on the NASA TV "Public Channel"
(Channel 101). For information on receiving NASA TV go to:

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/digital.html

NASA Television will carry the prelaunch news conference starting at 9
a.m. PST/noon EST on Monday, Feb. 23.

The prelaunch news conference will also be webcast at:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

On launch day, Feb. 24, NASA TV coverage of the countdown will begin
at 12 a.m. PST/3 a.m. EST. Liftoff is targeted to occur at 1:51:30
a.m. PST. Spacecraft separation from the Taurus occurs 13 minutes, 19
seconds after launch.

VOICE CIRCUIT COVERAGE

To monitor audio of the prelaunch news conference and the launch
coverage, dial the NASA "V" circuits, which may be accessed directly
at 321-867-1220, -1240 and -1260. This system is not two-way
interactive. "Mission Audio" of countdown activities without NASA
launch commentary will be carried on 321-867-7135 beginning at
midnight.

WEB COVERAGE

Launch coverage of OCO/Taurus XL countdown activities will be
available on the NASA Web site by going to the home page at:

http://www.nasa.gov

Live countdown coverage on NASA's launch blog begins at midnight PST.
Coverage features real-time updates of countdown milestones, as well
as streaming video clips highlighting launch preparations and
liftoff.

To access these features, go to NASA's OCO mission Web site at:

http://www.nasa.gov/oco

NASA OCO/TAURUS XL NEWS CENTER

The OCO/Taurus News Center at the NASA Vandenberg Resident Office
currently is open and may be reached at 805-605-3051. A recorded
status report is also available by dialing 805-734-2693.


-end-
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: 1tom2go on 02/18/2009 03:58 AM
thanks for the updates.  Is this launch site the one about a mile south of SLC-2? 
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: antonioe on 02/18/2009 03:12 PM
Indeed, you have to watch were you walk; there's a BIG hole in the middle of the pad, and that first step is a doozy!!!
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: kevin-rf on 02/18/2009 04:04 PM
Indeed, you have to watch were you walk; there's a BIG hole in the middle of the pad, and that first step is a doozy!!!

Got rope?  ;D
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: kevin-rf on 02/18/2009 05:35 PM

You'll need about 180'.


Have a 220' PMI maxi wear coiled on a hook in the basement. How sharp is the lip?
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/18/2009 09:29 PM
 Taurus XL/OCO on the pad:

http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/search.cfm?cat=4
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/18/2009 09:38 PM
Live view, for some reason I can never stream the PL files...
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: jacqmans on 02/20/2009 07:22 AM
MEDIA ADVISORY: M09-026

NASA PLANS ORBITING CARBON OBSERVATORY POST-LAUNCH MEDIA BRIEFING

WASHINGTON -- NASA will hold a media briefing at 9 a.m. EST on the day
the Orbiting Carbon Observatory spacecraft launches. The observatory
is set to launch Feb. 24 at 4:51 a.m. EST from Vandenberg Air Force
Base in California. The briefing will take place in the James E. Webb
Memorial Auditorium at NASA Headquarters, 300 E St. S.W., Washington.
 

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory, or OCO, is NASA's first spacecraft
dedicated to studying carbon dioxide. The mission will map the global
distribution of carbon dioxide, the leading human-produced greenhouse
gas driving climate changes, and study how that distribution changes
over time.

Briefing panelists at Headquarters and Vandenberg are:

- Ed Weiler, associate administrator, Science Mission Directorate,
NASA Headquarters, Washington
- Chuck Dovale, NASA launch director, NASA's Kennedy Space Center,
Fla.
- Ralph Basilio, OCO deputy project manager, NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
- Jack Kaye, associate director for research, Earth Science Division,
NASA Headquarters

Reporters may ask questions from participating NASA locations or by
telephone. To reserve a telephone line, contact J.D. Harrington by
e-mail at j.d.harrington@nasa.gov.

For more information about launch coverage, and NASA TV downlink and
streaming video, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

For more information about NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/oco

Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/20/2009 09:30 PM
Images of Taurus XL on the pad:

http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/search.cfm?cat=4
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: Ford Mustang on 02/21/2009 05:39 AM
Mission: Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)
Launch Vehicle: Taurus XL (Orbital Sciences)
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 576-E, Vandenberg Air Force Base,
Calif.
Launch Date: Feb. 24, 2009
Launch Time: 1:51:30 a.m. PST

At the launch pad on Feb. 18, the Taurus XL launch vehicle upper
stack, consisting of stages 1, 2 and 3 with the encapsulated OCO
spacecraft, was hoisted atop Stage 0. Also, a launch countdown dress
rehearsal was conducted.

A Combined Systems Test, an integrated electrical test of the entire
launch vehicle working together with the OCO spacecraft, is scheduled
for Friday. The Launch Readiness Review is scheduled for Feb. 22. The
call to stations for the launch team is 10:30 p.m. on Feb. 23. At
this time, there are no issues that would prevent launch.
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/22/2009 05:15 PM
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: ineedalife999 on 02/22/2009 11:45 PM
Launch Readiness Review complete, no issues.
Title: Re: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/23/2009 01:33 PM
NASA TV coverage of the OCO launch begins 3 am EST, launch at 4:51:30 a.m
Title: Re: LIVE: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/23/2009 01:39 PM
We'll turn this into a live coverage thread now, mainly as a reminder of the launch.
Title: Re: LIVE: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/23/2009 01:53 PM
OCO launch blog, which will start at 3 am (going to be an early one...) http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/oco/launch/launch_blog.html
Title: Re: LIVE: OCO - Taurus XL launch on Feb 23, 2009.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/23/2009 03:55 PM
I will record the first 10 minutes or so
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/23/2009 04:40 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGqthEEEEvI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tiyf7kqwKfY
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: John44 on 02/23/2009 05:18 PM
 NASA LAUNCHES SATELLITE ON HUNT FOR MISSING CARBON DIOXIDE
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4690

 OCO Taurus XL Pre-Launch L-1 News Conference
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4691

 OCO Taurus XL Missions Science Briefing
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4692

Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/23/2009 05:42 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhxQoIhHW1Q
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/23/2009 07:44 PM
Final integration images:

http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/search.cfm?cat=4
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Jason Davies on 02/23/2009 08:18 PM
Why is it on a pedestal, 20 feet off the ground?
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Jim on 02/23/2009 08:24 PM
Why is it on a pedestal, 20 feet off the ground?

The first stage, Castor 120 motor, is a derivative of the MX first stage.  The MX ignited in midair after being shot out the launch canister.  The pedestal eliminates a need for a blast deflector
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Jason Davies on 02/23/2009 08:27 PM
Why is it on a pedestal, 20 feet off the ground?

The first stage, Castor 120 motor, is a derivative of the MX first stage.  The MX ignited in midair after being shot out the launch canister.  The pedestal eliminates a need for a blast deflector

Thanks Jim! If I ever go on Millionaire, you're my phone a friend :D
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: vt_hokie on 02/24/2009 01:39 AM
Ouch, 4:51 am?!  I'll try to wake up for this one, but we'll see!  :)
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/24/2009 03:03 AM
article up for tonight's launch:

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2009/02/orbitals-taurus-xl-launch-orbiting-carbon-observatory/
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Paul Adams on 02/24/2009 03:18 AM
Ouch, 4:51 am?!  I'll try to wake up for this one, but we'll see!  :)
I'm hoping we can see this one from Las Vegas again, the last night time launch just after sunset was spectacular!

Paul
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: hop on 02/24/2009 03:55 AM
article up for tonight's launch:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2009/02/orbitals-taurus-xl-launch-orbiting-carbon-observatory/
A nit:
Quote
Orbital Sciences also built the OCO spacecraft, which will make the first space-based measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2),
Even if you mean the first dedicated craft for this purpose, I expect the IBUKI (http://www.jaxa.jp/projects/sat/gosat/index_e.html) team would disagree ;) (incidentally, having these complementary spacecraft in orbit at the same time will be a great benefit to everyone involved. The respective teams have worked together to maximize this.)

In any case, best of luck to everyone involved.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Carl G on 02/24/2009 05:33 AM
Pad rat on console and ready to support.

Awesome!
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 07:08 AM
Pad rat on console and ready to support.

Great! Very much appreciated. :)

Bergin on coffee and ready to support.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 07:22 AM
T-70 minutes.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 07:25 AM
Four stage vehicle, but will only take 13 minutes to get to spacecraft sep.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 07:30 AM
Taurus XL having her stages integrated.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 07:32 AM
576E is actually "on top of" a cold war nuclear missile silo.

Stage 0:
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 07:35 AM
T-56 minutes.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 07:50 AM
T-50 mins and holding (BIH).
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 07:53 AM
No issues being worked, ahead of coming out of the Built In Hold (BIH). Go to proceed via NASA polling. Orbital polling next.

Around five minutes until coming out of the hold.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 07:55 AM
As above ^^ Very good! :)
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 07:57 AM
T-50 minutes and counting
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 08:04 AM
NASA TV just fell over on the webcast for the last few minutes, but is back up now.

T-43 minutes.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 08:09 AM
Patchy fog on the weather briefing, but zero percent constraint through the window :)
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 08:12 AM
Coverage will continue through to solar array deployment, around T+20 mins.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 08:17 AM
One more BIH at T-12 mins for five mins upcoming.

Currently T-30 mins.

Four minutes to vehicle internal power.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Satori on 02/24/2009 08:23 AM
Taurus launch pad
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Satori on 02/24/2009 08:27 AM
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Satori on 02/24/2009 08:34 AM
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/24/2009 08:34 AM
Final build in hold, t minus 12 minutes
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/24/2009 08:39 AM
troubleshooting range safety issue, launching !:55
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 08:40 AM
Range issue. Extending the hold to target the end of the window.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: dawei on 02/24/2009 08:43 AM
"Pegasus" mission control????  PAO is sleepy :)
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/24/2009 08:43 AM
t minus 12 and counting
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/24/2009 08:45 AM
On internal power
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 08:46 AM
Issue resolved. The geometry of the range's command transmitters versus FTS antennas on the rocket caused one antenna to have low receive level. A switch to the alternate command site demonstrated that the rocket's FTS system was functioning properly.

Good news, and fast turnaround. Always worry about these short windows.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Launch Fan on 02/24/2009 08:48 AM
On internal power

FTS power only. Avionics and transient power comes later.

Yeah. The announcer on NASA TV keeps dumbing down the calls.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 08:51 AM
Final launch poll taking place.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 08:52 AM
HOLD (maybe). No Joy of FTS rotation during polling. Logic error, macro aborted.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 08:54 AM
Looks like they are still continuing?

Range is green.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 08:54 AM
Countdown started, still proceeding it appears.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 08:55 AM
T-30 seconds. Still going! :)
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 08:56 AM
LAUNCH!!
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/24/2009 08:56 AM
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 08:57 AM
Nominal opening stage. Max Q T+50 seconds.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 08:57 AM
End of Stage 0 flight. Stage 1 ignition.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Satori on 02/24/2009 08:57 AM
Launch!!!
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/24/2009 08:57 AM
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 08:58 AM
70 second burn of Stage 1. T+100 seconds.

5,000 mph
50 miles altitude.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Satori on 02/24/2009 08:58 AM
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 08:59 AM
T+150

90 miles altitude.

Nominal flight.

Stage 1 burnout.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 08:59 AM
1-2 Sep.

70 second Stage 2 burn

Fairing sep.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/24/2009 08:59 AM
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 09:00 AM
T+200 seconds.
11,000 mph
130 miles altitude.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Satori on 02/24/2009 09:00 AM
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 09:00 AM
T+4 mins

Stage 2 burnout.

14,000 mph.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/24/2009 09:00 AM
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 09:01 AM
Stage 2-3 coast phase. Will last for five minutes.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Paul Adams on 02/24/2009 09:04 AM
Stage 2-3 coast phase. Will last for five minutes.

That was very cool; watched the lift-off on NASA TV and then saw the rocket from my back garden here in Las Vegas. Saw the first stage burn-out followed by second stage ignition and burn-out! First stage sep left a cloud of smoke visible to the naked eye, even in the dark.

Very cool!

Paul
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 09:04 AM
T+460 seconds. Nominal coast phase, two mins remaing in coast.

Altitude 325 miles.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 09:05 AM
Stage 3 ignition in 30 seconds.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: shaula1247 on 02/24/2009 09:05 AM
What camera was that.  It was still pulling in an image at 150miles altitude and heaven knows how far down range.  Phenomenal.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/24/2009 09:07 AM
Stage 3 ignition
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 09:07 AM
Stage 3 ignition
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 09:08 AM
Launch video http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=15982.0

(I think Ron will be youtubing his version too).
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 09:09 AM
Stage 3 burnout I think.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/24/2009 09:10 AM
incident!
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 09:10 AM
FAILED??
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: arachnitect on 02/24/2009 09:10 AM
contingency?
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: ugordan on 02/24/2009 09:11 AM
A "launch contingency"?

LOM?
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: William Graham on 02/24/2009 09:11 AM
Any idea whether it failed to orbit or reached the wrong orbit?
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Satori on 02/24/2009 09:11 AM
Looks like we had our first launch failure of the year! :(
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: dawei on 02/24/2009 09:11 AM
It all looked so good.  But no report of spacecraft sep.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: William Graham on 02/24/2009 09:12 AM
Payload fairing failed to separate.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 09:13 AM
I'm sure I heard him say third stage burnout.

Oh, the fairing did not sep! DAMN!
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: ugordan on 02/24/2009 09:13 AM
Fairing sep failure...
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: dawei on 02/24/2009 09:14 AM
I didn't visually see the fairing pieces sep.  But I wasn't sure if that event should be visible or not.
Title: Re: LIVE: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: arachnitect on 02/24/2009 09:14 AM
No backup fairing sep. mechanism?
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: dawei on 02/24/2009 09:15 AM
Dang.  Anybody know how much the fairing weighs?  Would the final stage and attached OCO still make some sort of orbit?
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 09:17 AM
More details in two hours they say.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Satori on 02/24/2009 09:17 AM
This is strange because the separation of the fairing was announced by the launch team. Is this based on write procedurs or is there any kind of indication that this has happened?
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: arachnitect on 02/24/2009 09:17 AM
Dang.  Anybody know how much the fairing weighs?  Would the final stage and attached OCO still make some sort of orbit?

That's what I'm wondering... did it still make orbit, or will it come down somewhere down range?

What a frustrating way to lose a mission.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Skyrocket on 02/24/2009 09:17 AM
Dang.  Anybody know how much the fairing weighs?  Would the final stage and attached OCO still make some sort of orbit?
The last time something this way happened (Ikonos 1 on an Athena-2) the payload did not reach orbit.

Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: dawei on 02/24/2009 09:18 AM
Does fairing sep failure automatically stop the spacecraft sep command?  Could the spacecraft be banging around inside the fairing and unable to deploy solar arrays?
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: ugordan on 02/24/2009 09:19 AM
This is strange because the separation of the fairing was announced by the launch team. Is this based on write procedurs or is there any kind of indication that this has happened?

Perhaps the separation command was given, but it didn't actually separate? I looked carefully to see anything in the IR tracking footage but didn't see any objects receding behind the LV. The previous stage was clearly visible seconds earlier, though. Even though the stage was red hot I still figured fairing halves ought to be detectable.

It could be that the first indication of failure came through lower than expected vehicle acceleration.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: William Graham on 02/24/2009 09:19 AM
This is strange because the separation of the fairing was announced by the launch team. Is this based on write procedurs or is there any kind of indication that this has happened?

It's not unknown for expected events to be announced even if they didn't happen. IIRC, during the first Delta III launch they were still calling out events after the rocket exploded.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: dawei on 02/24/2009 09:19 AM
I wonder if anybody can predict where reentry is about to take place if they didn't reach orbit.  Would any pieces be expected to reach land?
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/24/2009 09:20 AM
might not be the best video file right now.....

Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: DirtyDeeds on 02/24/2009 09:20 AM
Whoa, weird. I think I'm in a time warp or something. I'm watching on NASA TV and they just came out of the T-12 minute hold for like the third time but definitely no launch yet... I guess the video froze up on me when I was in the bathroom or something, or they have some sort of fairly lengthy delay? This is like taping the game to watch later but having someone spoil the final score for you. Back to bed.


Oh, UGH, Dumby McDumberson! The darn video player froze at some point and then started to repeat the parts that already played. I was reading and had this in the background and was not paying close attention, so I didn't realize I was hearing the same thing three or four times. I got up for nothing. Didn't even see the launch.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Zachstar on 02/24/2009 09:21 AM
Get ready for the conspiricy theories to fly on this one folks.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/24/2009 09:21 AM
Whoa, weird. I think I'm in a time warp or something. I'm watching on NASA TV and they just came out of the T-12 minute hold for like the third time but definitely no launch yet... I guess the video froze up on me when I was in the bathroom or something, or they have some sort of fairly lengthy delay? This is like taping the game to watch later but having someone spoil the final score for you. Back to bed.

It launched and the fairing failed to separate resulting in a loss of mission
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: dawei on 02/24/2009 09:21 AM
Nasa TV has terminated live coverage.  All we can do is wait for the presser in 2 hours.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Launch Fan on 02/24/2009 09:22 AM
might not be the best video file right now.....



Awful placement. Right after showing off about winning an Emmy from a "local chapter" which they give away to PBS programs written by kids. Hardly worth shouting about.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: dawei on 02/24/2009 09:25 AM
Thanks to all who got up in the middle of the night to cover this.  Condolences to all involved in this mission.  Everyone on the planet actually loses a bit as the lost science will not be easy or cheap to replace.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: ugordan on 02/24/2009 09:25 AM
Get ready for the conspiricy theories to fly on this one folks.

Funny how that occured to me as well. Let's not go down that road on this forum, though...
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 09:25 AM
ALRIGHT, Let's keep down the chatter. This thread is about the launch and will continue through to the information that will follow in a few hours.

Let's keep the chatter down to a minimum, otherwise those waking up later will have to trawl through it to get info.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 09:29 AM
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/24/2009 09:30 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVZQwBej7_k
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: William Graham on 02/24/2009 09:31 AM
Still trying to evaluate the status of the spacecraft.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 09:32 AM
George Diller update:

OCO did not achieve orbit successfully. Still looking at the telemetry. Appeared there was indications of problems with fairing sep, but not sure.

Checking the status of the spacecraft, to confirm location and orbit. However, the data around fairing sep is not what we expected to be. We believe that is what happened.

Gathering information over the next hour and a half to pass on to you at a press conference. Right now we do know we have not had a successful launch and will not be able to have a successful mission.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: dawei on 02/24/2009 09:33 AM
Data regarding fairing sep is "not what we expected to see" and "looking to see what configuration the spacecraft is in".  No confirmation of orbit or lack of orbit.

Loss of OCO mission confirmed.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 09:34 AM
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Satori on 02/24/2009 09:37 AM
Images of the Taurus-XL at the time of payload fairing separation announcement...
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Launch Fan on 02/24/2009 09:42 AM
Chris, there's lots of diagrams and info on the Taurus fairing in the launch vehicle manuals on L2. The Taurus pdf is 85 pages.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 09:49 AM
Thanks, I see it, that's a good overview. However, we don't know much more than it "appears" to be the fairing sep that caused the failure.

Which fairing size was used on this mission?


5.1  Payload Fairings
Taurus offers two payload fairing configurations,
enabling the Customer to optimize performance
and  volume  requirements.    The  92”  diameter
payload  fairing provides  the  largest payload en-
velope, while  the  63”  diameter  fairing  provides
increased  performance-to-orbit  with  a  smaller
payload envelope.  Both provide security and en-
vironmental  control  during  ground  processing,
integration operations, and ascent.   The  fairings
utilize  graphite/epoxy  composite  construction,
are RF-opaque,  and  include one  inch  (25.4 mm)
thick  internal  acoustic  blankets  to  control  the
payload acoustic environment.
The two halves of the fairing are structurally joined
along  their  longitudinal  interface using Orbital’s
low contamination frangible joint system.   An ad-
ditional circumferential frangible joint at the base
of  the  fairing attaches  the  fairing  to  the Stage 3
assembly.   At separation, a gas pressurization sys-
tem  is activated to pressurize the fairing deploy-
ment  thrusters.      The  fairing  halves  then  rotate
about external hinges that control the fairing de-
ployment to ensure that payload and  launch ve-
hicle clearances are maintained.   All elements of
the deployment system have been demonstrated
through test to comply with stringent contamina-
tion requirements. See graphics below.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: John44 on 02/24/2009 09:49 AM
 Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) Taurus XL launch

http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4693

backup link
space-multimedia.6x.to
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Satori on 02/24/2009 09:59 AM
Thanks, I see it, that's a good overview. However, we don't know much more than it "appears" to be the fairing sep that caused the failure.

Which fairing size was used on this mission?



The fairing diameter was 63 inches (160 centimeters).
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: William Graham on 02/24/2009 10:01 AM

Which fairing size was used on this mission?


Looking at images of this and previous launches, I'd say it was the smaller of the two.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 02/24/2009 10:46 AM
Darn.  Well, it just goes to show that even a 'routine' launch can be struck by the gremlins.  If this was a fairing seperation no-go, it could have been something as simple as a 25c bit of wire and solder in the trigger control cable that shook loose.

Speaking as an amateur, I assume that the Taurus US would have been in an 'insertion' trajectory that would have allowed the OCO to have entered orbit under its own power whilst the booster stage itself dropped back down and re-entered the atmosphere as it approached perigee.  As the spacecraft could not seperate from the booster, it would burn up too.

Just out of interest, does anyone know where the spacecraft re-entered (it must have happened by now)? Somewhere over Antarctica or Southern Ocean/Indian Ocean?
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: cb6785 on 02/24/2009 10:48 AM
Since I believe it was a Taurus 3110 it was the small fairing. 3210 would have been the bigger one.

The larger fairing can be seen on the launch of ROCSAT 2 in 2004 (see pic attached).
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Skyrocket on 02/24/2009 10:51 AM
Speaking as an amateur, I assume that the Taurus US would have been in an 'insertion' trajectory that would have allowed the OCO to have entered orbit under its own power whilst the booster stage itself dropped back down and re-entered the atmosphere as it approached perigee.  As the spacecraft could not seperate from the booster, it would burn up too.

No, Taurus would have provided orbit insertion into the final orbit.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 10:56 AM
Steve Cole
Headquarters, Washington
805-605-3051
stephen.e.cole@nasa.gov
RELEASE: 09-038

MEDIA BRIEFING SCHEDULED TO DISCUSS ORBITING CARBON OBSERVATORY MISSION

WASHINGTON -- NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory failed to reach orbit
this morning after a 4:55 a.m. EST liftoff from Vandenberg Air Force
Base in California. A media briefing on the mishap has been
tentatively scheduled for 7:15 a.m. from Vandenberg. The briefing
will be carried on NASA TV.

For more information about the Orbiting Carbon Observatory mission,
visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/oco
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Satori on 02/24/2009 11:14 AM
We should be coming up on the latest update any minute.

It was delayed to 8:00am EST (1300UTC)
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: HKS on 02/24/2009 11:14 AM
Press Briefing is now rescheduled to NET 8:00 a.m. EST
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: wjbarnett on 02/24/2009 11:14 AM
NTV now says conference will be NET 8am EST.

Edit: Ouch! 4 updates with same info within 35 sec of each other. I'd hazard a guess people are paying close attention to this!
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: KEdward5 on 02/24/2009 11:24 AM
That is such a shame. Will this hurt their contract with CRS?
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 11:26 AM
Thanks guys. We'll keep an eye on the time of the update as they're obviously still gathering data etc.

That is such a shame. Will this hurt their contract with CRS?

Depressing to say the least, but hey, that's what this business is about, you learn your lessons and you comeback. SpaceX were failing all over the place, and yet now they are NASA's poster child.

If it was down to a failure with fairing sep, one could assume it's a reasonably easy fix. Orbital have already gained the CRS contract and are working through it. They may have to answer some questions, but nothing along the lines of "hurt".
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Jim on 02/24/2009 11:31 AM
First failure under the watch of NASA LSP
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: thomasafb on 02/24/2009 11:31 AM
It's not unknown for expected events to be announced even if they didn't happen. IIRC, during the first Delta III launch they were still calling out events after the rocket exploded.

Not to mention Mr Navis' call out: "1 minute 15 seconds, velocity..."
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: William Graham on 02/24/2009 11:37 AM
It's not unknown for expected events to be announced even if they didn't happen. IIRC, during the first Delta III launch they were still calling out events after the rocket exploded.

Not to mention Mr Navis' call out: "1 minute 15 seconds, velocity..."
I'd always assumed he was reading the last "good" data they had.


Do we know if anything reached orbit or not?
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: ksc_houston on 02/24/2009 11:44 AM
Maybe I am wrong...if the spacecraft achieved orbit (a lower orbit) but with the same inclination, it may be possile to raise the orbit using OCO's thrusters ?
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Jim on 02/24/2009 11:48 AM
The vehicle more than likely splashed.   Anyways if it did reach orbit, the spacecraft couldn't do anything, it is surrounded by a fairing, which means no power, no comm, no attitude references, no attitude control (thrusters are buried) and no orbit control
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Jason Davies on 02/24/2009 11:53 AM
First failure under the watch of NASA LSP

Wow, I thought the failed Delta II would have been under LSP, or was that USAF and LSP didn't start until later?

Feel sorry for Antonio.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: William Graham on 02/24/2009 11:59 AM
First failure under the watch of NASA LSP

Wow, I thought the failed Delta II would have been under LSP, or was that USAF and LSP didn't start until later?

Feel sorry for Antonio.

The Delta II failure was a USAF GPS launch. The partial failure was a commercial launch. Neither carried a NASA payload.

The last launch failure of a major unmanned orbital NASA mission was QuickTOMS, also on a Taurus, in 2001. This was also the last failure out of Vandenberg.

The last failure of an orbital launch carrying NASA payloads of any type was the third Falcon 1 in August 2008, carrying the NanoSail and PreSat CubeSats for NASA, and the ALV-X1 sounding rocket is the most recent NASA launch failure of any description.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Jim on 02/24/2009 12:00 PM
First failure under the watch of NASA LSP

Wow, I thought the failed Delta II would have been under LSP, or was that USAF and LSP didn't start until later?


Both.
A.  It was USAF
B.  It was before LSP

56/57 is not bad.  Don't know if it is statistically different than other "users", i.e. DOD and commercial
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Satori on 02/24/2009 12:05 PM
Anomaly Press Briefing coming up...
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: rdale on 02/24/2009 12:09 PM
Prelim indications that fairing failed to separate. Did not reach orbit.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: rdale on 02/24/2009 12:11 PM
7 seconds after stage 2 ignition, expected to see separation, indications that sequence was sent, but shortly after got feedback that fairing did not separate.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 12:12 PM
These guys look understandably shattered.

Chuck D: Fairing sep failure still the initial thought. Minor issues during countdown (general). Flight normal. After Stage 2 we expected fairing sep. indications that sequence was sent, but no separation.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: rdale on 02/24/2009 12:12 PM
Fairing separates by sequence of electrical pulses that drives ordnance. Two primary and two redundant pulses separate the fairing rails (vertical part.) 80 milliseconds later, base joint is separated by 2/2 pulses as well. Confirmed that the sequence was sent, we had good power, and had healthy electronics box that sent the signal.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Satori on 02/24/2009 12:13 PM
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: rdale on 02/24/2009 12:14 PM
When fairing comes off, little wires that are looped back break. We did not get indications that those broke. Temps did not change after it should have separated. And fairing is pretty heavy, so jump in acceleration. We did not get that jump.

Likely landed just short of Antarctica in the ocean.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 12:15 PM
Vehicle could not reach orbit due to having to carry the fairing (heavy) through the rest of the flight, and the vehicle has splashed down somewhere near Antarctica.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: rdale on 02/24/2009 12:15 PM
1st q on confidence of it's reentry point, he's very certain it did not overfly land and ended up near Antarctica. We'll know more tomorrow.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: rdale on 02/24/2009 12:16 PM
2nd question - was it being monitored by P3?

Yes.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: rdale on 02/24/2009 12:19 PM
Any hazardous materials on board?

Some hydrazine.

Anything new with this fairing?

No.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 12:20 PM
Those local reporters are clued up. Good questions.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: elmarko on 02/24/2009 12:27 PM
Looks like some technical problems with the audio feeds from HQ.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: rdale on 02/24/2009 12:31 PM
Q: How far did this put things behind for studying Earth?

A: We spent 9 years developing OCO. But Japan launched satellite that makes complementary measurements, so algorithms from that can be used combined with other sensors on orbit.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: elmarko on 02/24/2009 12:31 PM
Are the Vandenberg reporters always that clued up? Those were some great questions.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: rdale on 02/24/2009 12:35 PM
If they went to a launch as "low profile" as this, then they probably aren't your generic reporter being sent to cover a "that NASA stuff."

Note the AP didn't have the launch failure announcement for well over an hour... We'd run the story once before I noticed and told the producer that it was a failure, but she sent me another update from AP talking about the good launch.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/24/2009 12:35 PM
So to recap. Fairing failed to sep. Vehicle would have gained some delta V with a nominal loss of the fairing. Thus could not get into orbit. Splashed down near Antarctica. Wouldn't of mattered if it could have got into orbit due to lack of power with the fairing surrounding it.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: John44 on 02/24/2009 12:43 PM
 Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) Anomaly Press Briefing
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4694

backup link

space-multimedia.6x.to
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: cabbage on 02/24/2009 12:50 PM
Vehicle would have gained some delta V with a nominal loss of the fairing. Thus could not get into orbit.

I got the impression from the briefing that the mass of the fairing was a quite significant proportion of the mass of the combined vehicle at theat point, so the remaining thrust would have had to accelerate significantly more mass than intended, resulting in a significantly lower (suborbital as we now know) velocity at cutoff.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: elmarko on 02/24/2009 12:53 PM
Vehicle would have gained some delta V with a nominal loss of the fairing. Thus could not get into orbit.

I got the impression from the briefing that the mass of the fairing was a quite significant proportion of the mass of the combined vehicle at theat point, so the remaining thrust would have had to accelerate significantly more mass than intended, resulting in a significantly lower (suborbital as we now know) velocity at cutoff.

Forgive me, but isn't that essentially what Chris was saying anyway?
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: cabbage on 02/24/2009 12:57 PM
I was trying to amplify that "some delta V" might actually be a large part of the required delta V - in other words it wouldn't be close to reaching orbit.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Launch Fan on 02/24/2009 01:01 PM
I was trying to amplify that "some delta V" might actually be a large part of the required delta V - in other words it wouldn't be close to reaching orbit.

Yes, Chris mentioned that already.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/24/2009 01:39 PM
Fairing sizes from Taurus XL fact sheet.  Lets just fix the issue so that we can fly Glory successfully later:

http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/Publications/Taurus_fact.pdf

Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Lee Jay on 02/24/2009 01:50 PM
Not the nicest news to wake up to, but thanks for the excellent coverage.

At this very early stage, it doesn't sound like the easiest failure to diagnose.  With all signals sent through three redundant paths, it may not be all that simple figure out what went wrong with the (now splashed) hardware.  Best of luck to the investigation team!
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/24/2009 01:53 PM
Long exposure image of the launch:

http://www.vandenberg.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123136806

Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ford Mustang on 02/24/2009 01:57 PM
RELEASE: 09-039

NASA'S LAUNCH OF CARBON-SEEKING SATELLITE IS UNSUCCESSFUL

WASHINGTON -- NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory satellite failed to
reach orbit after its 4:55 a.m. EST liftoff Tuesday from California's
Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Preliminary indications are that the fairing on the Taurus XL launch
vehicle failed to separate. The fairing is a clamshell structure that
encapsulates the satellite as it travels through the atmosphere.

A Mishap Investigation Board will be immediately convened to determine
the cause of the launch failure.

For more information, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Nick L. on 02/24/2009 02:00 PM
Aww man! :( Well at least it seems like it's pretty clear what happened, not like some of the other failures where we're all left in the dark.

When was the last time a fairing failed to sep like this?

 
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: ugordan on 02/24/2009 02:06 PM
Well at least it seems like it's pretty clear what happened, not like some of the other failures where we're all left in the dark.

Yes, it's pretty clear what happened, but it's not so clear why it happened. As Lee Jay points out, this might not be so trivial to troubleshoot.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: antonioe on 02/24/2009 02:15 PM
First failure under the watch of NASA LSP
Feel sorry for Antonio.

Well, don't.  This comes with the terrritory.  You work hard to prevent days like today, but you have to be ready to accept them, and, most importantly, recover from and learn from every failure.

That said, it is a time to remember how hard this business is, how humble one has to be, and how vigilant one has to be.  There is no room in this business for complacency.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Antares on 02/24/2009 02:16 PM
This is the type of thing that you solve inductively.  You eliminate branches (fault tree) and bones (fishbone) and end up with certain ones that you don't have the evidence to eliminate.  This will be the path unless there's a smoking gun in telemetry, which is typically known pretty quickly.

The spaceflight ordnance world has been a bogeyman for a few years now.  Too much consolidation, too much turnover, not enough business to keep the good guys around.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: marsavian on 02/24/2009 02:37 PM
First failure under the watch of NASA LSP
Feel sorry for Antonio.

Well, don't.  This comes with the terrritory.  You work hard to prevent days like today, but you have to be ready to accept them, and, most importantly, recover from and learn from every failure.

That said, it is a time to remember how hard this business is, how humble one has to be, and how vigilant one has to be.  There is no room in this business for complacency.

Trying to see a crumb of comfort here but will a successful analysis of the problem just make Taurus II a bit more reliable from the start, i.e. is it to use the same separation technique ?
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Lee Jay on 02/24/2009 02:39 PM
This is the type of thing that you solve inductively.  You eliminate branches (fault tree) and bones (fishbone) and end up with certain ones that you don't have the evidence to eliminate.  This will be the path unless there's a smoking gun in telemetry, which is typically known pretty quickly.

The spaceflight ordnance world has been a bogeyman for a few years now.  Too much consolidation, too much turnover, not enough business to keep the good guys around.

I'm not going to argue with that, but we should acknowledge that we have no way to know if the ordinance itself was the problem here or not.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: antonioe on 02/24/2009 02:44 PM
Trying to see a crumb of comfort here but will a successful analysis of the problem just make Taurus II a bit more reliable from the start, i.e. is it to use the same separation technique ?
ANYTHING you learn will make the next flight and the next rocket more reliable.  I'm not sure we know that the problem was in the separation technique, or in something a lot more mundane, such as a connector or (less mundane) a Safe&Arm.

As somebody said earlier, still a lot of bones in the herringbone.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Antares on 02/24/2009 02:44 PM
I'm not going to argue with that, but we should acknowledge that we have no way to know if the ordinance itself was the problem here or not.

No doubt.  PS, ordnance explodes.  Ordinance is what sends you to jail if you make something explode.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Lee Jay on 02/24/2009 02:45 PM
I'm not going to argue with that, but we should acknowledge that we have no way to know if the ordinance itself was the problem here or not.

No doubt.  PS, ordnance explodes.  Ordinance is what sends you to jail if you make something explode.

Sorry.   ;)
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: nomadd22 on 02/24/2009 02:48 PM
 You're always pushing the edge trying to keep pounds and dollars to a minimum. It's hard to hit the perfect point every time. It's part of development. Maybe the fairing sep mechanism will wind up a few pounds or few dollars more, but it will work perfectly next time if they do it right. And, I'm betting Orbital nails it.
 Another rocket whose name I can't remember weighs a few pounds more because aluminum was replaced by stainless and baffles were added.
 Not everybody has the luxury of a 10 billion dollar development budget, and experience is the only way they'll find some things.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: JSC Phil on 02/24/2009 03:19 PM

Well, don't.  This comes with the terrritory.  You work hard to prevent days like today, but you have to be ready to accept them, and, most importantly, recover from and learn from every failure.

That said, it is a time to remember how hard this business is, how humble one has to be, and how vigilant one has to be.  There is no room in this business for complacency.



ANYTHING you learn will make the next flight and the next rocket more reliable. 

Wise words, take note people.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/24/2009 03:39 PM
Well, it still looked great on liftoff.  Also I cant believe how antonioe's words have cheered me up, and He is the one that works at Orbital!  all I can say is great attitude, and as a result I am 100% sure that Orbital will find the problem, fix it, and keep on going strong:

http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/search.cfm?cat=4
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Space Lizard on 02/24/2009 03:40 PM
After the loss of Cryosat on Rockot in 2005, this is the 2nd crucial mission for the understanding of global change effects to be lost at launch.

If we're lucky, we'll have Cryosat 2 up there by late this year.

Could an OCO-2 follow too?
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: rdale on 02/24/2009 03:53 PM
Lizard - there was mention of some spares sitting around, but they also talked about advances since OCO was developed so not wanting to commit to an exact duplicate.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Danderman on 02/24/2009 04:18 PM
My question about whether some of the experiments in OCO were duplicated by the recent Japanese GOSAT spacecraft has largely been answered, but I am curious as to whether any of the EOS spacecraft carried CO2 detection systems, since this was, after all, one of the rationales for Mission to Planet Earth.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: William Graham on 02/24/2009 04:20 PM
Could this affect (in terms of delays) other OSC rockets?

There are a couple of Minotaurs coming up, and I was wondering if we could expect more delays to them.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: cb6785 on 02/24/2009 04:22 PM
Plus JAXA's GOSAT can make a lot of the same measurements. In one OCO briefing a while back someome stated that GOSAT and OCO can measure the same things by using different techniques. So having both would have enabled them to get a higher efficency and more reliability of the measurements. The loss of OCO is definetly nothing to be happy about, but some of the data can be gained now via GOSAT and maybe they will build a new OCO in time, improved with lessons learned via the GOSAT data.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: vt_hokie on 02/24/2009 05:44 PM

If we're lucky, we'll have Cryosat 2 up there by late this year.

Could an OCO-2 follow too?

I hope so!  I'm sorry to learn about the failure, and I hope that money can be found for a replacement.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: punkboi on 02/24/2009 06:31 PM
I hope this doesn't happen to the Glory spacecraft in June (since it will also launch on a Taurus XL from Vandenberg)
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: ugordan on 02/24/2009 06:45 PM
I hope this doesn't happen to the Glory spacecraft in June (since it will also launch on a Taurus XL from Vandenberg)

IIRC, Glory doesn't fly until investigation on this failure concludes. It was mentioned in the briefing, I think.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: antonioe on 02/24/2009 06:48 PM
PS, ordnance explodes.  Ordinance is what sends you to jail if you make something explode.

O.K., O.K.  this has been a rather cr@@py day, so a bit of humor is probably called for; did you ever read Ernest Nagels "Symbolic Logic, Haddock Eyes and the Dog-Walking Ordinance"?  It goes like this:

From the Minutes of a Borough Council Meeting:

Councilor Trafford took exception to the proposed notice at the entrance of South Park: “No dogs must be brought to this Park except on a lead.” He pointed out that this order would not prevent an owner from releasing his pets, or pet, from a lead when once safely inside the Park.

The Chairman (Colonel Vine): What alternative wording would you propose, Councilor?

Councilor Trafford: “Dogs are not allowed in this Park without leads.”

Councilor Hogg: Mr. Chairman, I object. The order should be addressed to the owners, not to the dogs.

Councilor Trafford: That is a nice point. Very well then: “Owners of dogs are not allowed in this Park unless they keep them on leads.”

Councilor Hogg: Mr. Chairman, I object. Strictly speaking, this would prevent me as a dog-owner from leaving my dog in the back-garden at home and walking with Mrs. Hogg across the Park.

Councilor Trafford: Mr. Chairman, I suggest that our legalistic friend be asked to redraft the notice himself.

Councilor Hogg: Mr. Chairman, since Councilor Trafford finds it so difficult to improve on my original wording, I accept. “Nobody without his dog on a lead is allowed in this Park.”

Councilor Trafford: Mr. Chairman, I object. Strictly speaking, this notice would prevent me, as a citizen, who owns no dog, from walking in the Park without first acquiring one.

Councilor Hogg (with some warmth): Very simply, then: “Dogs must be led in this Park.”

Councilor Trafford: Mr. Chairman, I object: this reads as if it were a general injunction to the Borough to lead their dogs into the Park.

Councilor Hogg interposed a remark for which he was called to order; upon his withdrawing it, it was directed to be expunged from the Minutes.

The Chairman: Councilor Trafford, Councilor Hogg has had three tries; you have had only two . . . .

Councilor Trafford: “All dogs must be kept on leads in this Park.”

The Chairman: I see Councilor Hogg rising quite rightly to raise another objection. May I anticipate him with another amendment: “All dogs in this Park must be kept on the lead.”

This draft was put to the vote and carried unanimously, with two abstentions.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: kevin-rf on 02/24/2009 07:45 PM
antonioe, you have missed a calling. You could so be the next Douglas Adams.

My condolences on OCO, keep up the great penmanship.

Edit:
Speaking of ordnance, that reminds me the dogs been out and I need to go de-mine my yard.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: ShuttleDiscovery on 02/24/2009 08:16 PM
I'm sorry to hear about the failure. I hope this issue can be resloved as soon as possible. It's always sad when you think how expensive the satellite was and how useful it could have been... :(
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: vt_hokie on 02/24/2009 08:38 PM
I'm sorry to hear about the failure. I hope this issue can be resloved as soon as possible. It's always sad when you think how expensive the satellite was and how useful it could have been... :(

Indeed.  And of course many people devoted substantial time and effort to the mission, but the good news is that machines can always be replaced!
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: SF Doug on 02/24/2009 09:36 PM
This is the type of thing that you solve inductively.  You eliminate branches (fault tree) and bones (fishbone) and end up with certain ones that you don't have the evidence to eliminate.  This will be the path unless there's a smoking gun in telemetry, which is typically known pretty quickly.

The spaceflight ordnance world has been a bogeyman for a few years now.  Too much consolidation, too much turnover, not enough business to keep the good guys around.

I'm not going to argue with that, but we should acknowledge that we have no way to know if the ordinance itself was the problem here or not.

From the SpaceX Falcon 9 User Guide...

------------------------------

SpaceX has also minimized the number of stages (2) to minimize separation events. The separation system between the first and second stages does not incorporate electroexplosive devices, instead relying upon a pneumatic release and separation system that allows for acceptance testing of the actual flight hardware. This is not possible with a traditional explosive‐based separation system.

http://www.spacex.com/Falcon9UsersGuide_2009.pdf

-----------------------
Perhaps a redesign of the fairing separation mechanism is in order for both Orbital and SpaceX.

My first post!

Doug

Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 02/24/2009 09:49 PM
This is the type of thing that you solve inductively.  You eliminate branches (fault tree) and bones (fishbone) and end up with certain ones that you don't have the evidence to eliminate.  This will be the path unless there's a smoking gun in telemetry, which is typically known pretty quickly.

The spaceflight ordnance world has been a bogeyman for a few years now.  Too much consolidation, too much turnover, not enough business to keep the good guys around.

I'm not going to argue with that, but we should acknowledge that we have no way to know if the ordinance itself was the problem here or not.

From the SpaceX Falcon 9 User Guide...

------------------------------

SpaceX has also minimized the number of stages (2) to minimize separation events. The separation system between the first and second stages does not incorporate electroexplosive devices, instead relying upon a pneumatic release and separation system that allows for acceptance testing of the actual flight hardware. This is not possible with a traditional explosive‐based separation system.

http://www.spacex.com/Falcon9UsersGuide_2009.pdf

-----------------------
Perhaps a redesign of the fairing separation mechanism is in order for both Orbital and SpaceX.

My first post!

Doug



That is for interstage, not fairing.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: SF Doug on 02/24/2009 10:23 PM
That is for interstage, not fairing.

Got it.  Just suggesting the design philosphy that allows for acceptance testing of flight hardware and doesn't need "to keep the good guys around."

Even the good guys must move on.  I don't write FORTRAN anymore.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: vt_hokie on 02/24/2009 10:26 PM
Even the good guys must move on.  I don't write FORTRAN anymore.

I didn't know anyone wrote FORTRAN anymore!  (We still learned FORTRAN 77 when I was in college, though!)
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: jcm on 02/25/2009 12:39 AM
Even the good guys must move on.  I don't write FORTRAN anymore.

I didn't know anyone wrote FORTRAN anymore!  (We still learned FORTRAN 77 when I was in college, though!)

I still write Fortran sometimes... it has its place in the mix of languages, especially in big science codes.

Antonio, commiserations, and bravo on your undaunted attitude. At some point if it's allowed, for the record, could you post an approximate actual orbit (sub-orbit, e.g. apogee and vel at apogee) achieved? I'd like to  quantify the miss.

Orbital's had a fine record lately, it's clear they will bounce back fairly quickly from this.

 - Jonathan
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: robertross on 02/25/2009 12:42 AM
Hi folks. Sorry I disappeared in the final minutes of the count this morning. Things got really hectic, and then things got really...interesting.

I'm afraid I'll have to recuse myself from discussion of the failure.

I'm sure we all understand...and glad you were there to offer what you could. I appreciated the play-by-play from everyone, regardless the outcome.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Patchouli on 02/25/2009 12:45 AM
Did Orbital have any cameras on OCO's LV?
A video may go a long way in helping find out exactly what happened.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Antares on 02/25/2009 06:20 AM
Is there anything else in human experience like space launch where pretty much anyone can watch in real-time a binomial system (success or failure) where failure is sickeningly catastrophic in lives or money and the demonstrated chance of failure is somewhere between 1% and 10%?

The closest thing I can think of is car or air racing, and those are pretty safe.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: marsavian on 02/25/2009 08:35 AM
Could the satellite and fairing be retrieved from the ocean bed for diagnosis ? 
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: ugordan on 02/25/2009 08:43 AM
Could the satellite and fairing be retrieved from the ocean bed for diagnosis ? 

I'm thinking... NO. You're assuming it could be easily located, fished out and that it's in one piece in the first place. The majority of it probably burned up in the atmosphere.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: HKS on 02/25/2009 01:45 PM
One of the news sites I read (DailyTech) have what they call exclusive comments from an anonymous source at NASA (Goddard Institute of Space Studies) about the failure of OCO.

Quote
I am not surprised OCO failed. If Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC) runs their launch services like they run their mission operations, then it was doomed from the start.
http://www.dailytech.com/NASA+Source+Paints+Disturbing+Picture+About+Failed+Satellite+Launch/article14411.htm

Edit: Article now pulled by Daily Tech!
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Skyrocket on 02/25/2009 01:57 PM
One of the news sites I read (DailyTech) have what they call exclusive comments from an anonymous source at NASA (Goddard Institute of Space Studies) about the failure of OCO.

Quote
I am not surprised OCO failed. If Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC) runs their launch services like they run their mission operations, then it was doomed from the start.
http://www.dailytech.com/NASA+Source+Paints+Disturbing+Picture+About+Failed+Satellite+Launch/article14411.htm



What is the worth of this Orbital-bashing by this "anonymous source"? Probably nothing - as the source concludes that due to having (now resolved) Network-Problems in Fairfax the Taurus launch was doomed from the start.

Pardon my French, but what BS.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/25/2009 02:15 PM
Always worry about "anonymous sources" as an entire basis of a story, but especially when this "anonymous source" can't even seem to get his facts straight, appearing to have picked up on something in the count that we heard was resolved as the basis for his "e-mail."

No disrespect to the Daily Tech, but are they even known for their launch coverage (I don't know, I'm asking), so questioning why this person went to them.

However, I also call BS, as we've not heard anything of the sort, and you'd think we would have if it was even slightly true.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: HKS on 02/25/2009 02:24 PM
Daily Tech is at least in my field (computer science) regarded as a reliable source of information. They also have some space news, covering launches, etc.

You should off course take "anonymous source" with a grain of salt (don't know how that translated from Norwegian to English), but I think it is wrong to call it BS, and below the site standards. It is still usefull for the big picture.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Skyrocket on 02/25/2009 02:39 PM
Daily Tech is at least in my field (computer science) regarded as a reliable source of information. They also have some space news, covering launches, etc.

You should off course take "anonymous source" with a grain of salt (don't know how that translated from Norwegian to English), but I think it is wrong to call it BS, and below the site standards. It is still usefull for the big picture.

No, frankly said, it is not useful at all, as this guy is drawing conclusion from a problem in a completly unrelated area. It only shows, that someone is deeply disgruntled for some reason, but his problems have obviously nothing to do with the failed launch.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: zaitcev on 02/25/2009 02:45 PM
http://www.dailytech.com/NASA+Source+Paints+Disturbing+Picture+About+Failed+Satellite+Launch/article14411.htm
One would think everyone in NASA should be using IPv6 by now. "Not having IPs" does not work as an excuse anymore.
-- Pete
{Edit: The logic goes that once NASA mandates v6, contractors like OSC have to follow}
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: pm1823 on 02/25/2009 02:49 PM
"Anonymous sources" can be used, if they bring "new info", i.e. give us unknown facts . When someone tries make a "qualitative statement" anonymously it means nothing except... you know.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/25/2009 03:22 PM
I hear they are going to pull the article ;)
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: HKS on 02/25/2009 03:23 PM
I hear they are going to pull the article ;)
Yes, pulled now! :)
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: TR1 on 02/25/2009 03:44 PM
Well, I can't read the article 'cause I can't find it on the website, but.....the safe and arm snafu during the terminal count was due to a pretty amateurish error of omission. Such things, while not being directly causative of this failure, do indicate a certain lack of rigor in process development that is troubling.

What was the safe and arm snafu?

Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: ineedalife999 on 02/25/2009 04:25 PM
From the audio feed, I believe it was an FTS Safe and Arm that wasn't powered up.  Working off memory though, I don't have a copy of the mission audio handy.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Jim on 02/25/2009 04:29 PM
http://www.dailytech.com/NASA+Source+Paints+Disturbing+Picture+About+Failed+Satellite+Launch/article14411.htm
One would think everyone in NASA should be using IPv6 by now. "Not having IPs" does not work as an excuse anymore.
-- Pete
{Edit: The logic goes that once NASA mandates v6, contractors like OSC have to follow}

Not so, this is something that NASA shouldn't have mandate.  It is an implementation. 
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Antares on 02/25/2009 04:38 PM
Quote
I am not surprised OCO failed. If Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC) runs their launch services like they run their mission operations, then it was doomed from the start.

Generally, Orbital's Launch System Group has a better reputation than its Space Systems Group (based on customer surveys); though the satellites seem to perform OK.  So, while unfair and bombastic, there's a shred of truth in it.  Kind of like Fox News and MSNBC.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: yinzer on 02/25/2009 05:54 PM
http://www.dailytech.com/NASA+Source+Paints+Disturbing+Picture+About+Failed+Satellite+Launch/article14411.htm
One would think everyone in NASA should be using IPv6 by now. "Not having IPs" does not work as an excuse anymore.
-- Pete
{Edit: The logic goes that once NASA mandates v6, contractors like OSC have to follow}

If you have a problem, and try to solve it by switching to IPv6, odds are that you now have two problems.

I can't read the article, but I wonder what the staff turnover has been since the last Taurus launch five years ago, and how many people were working their first flight.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: randomly on 02/25/2009 06:23 PM
No disrespect to the Daily Tech, but are they even known for their launch coverage (I don't know, I'm asking), so questioning why this person went to them.

I have found Daily Tech to be less than reliable and they often tend to sensationalize or slant their stories to the point of outright deception. This varies from author to author, Jason Mick being one of the heavy offenders.

I have found that it is often necessary to check the source materials to find out what the true story is, and if authored by Jason Mick I always check the sources. It's a good source of info, but it has to be taken with a large grain of salt.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/25/2009 08:38 PM
No disrespect to the Daily Tech, but are they even known for their launch coverage (I don't know, I'm asking), so questioning why this person went to them.

I have found Daily Tech to be less than reliable and they often tend to sensationalize or slant their stories to the point of outright deception. This varies from author to author, Jason Mick being one of the heavy offenders.

I have found that it is often necessary to check the source materials to find out what the true story is, and if authored by Jason Mick I always check the sources. It's a good source of info, but it has to be taken with a large grain of salt.

Interesting. They have certainly pulled the article, but did not post a note of retraction (which you really should do). Anyway!
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/25/2009 08:38 PM
Feb. 25, 2009

John Yembrick
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1100
john.yembrick-1@nasa.gov

Steve Cole
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-0918
stephen.e.cole@nasa.gov

RELEASE: 09-041

NASA NAMES CHAIRMAN FOR ORBITING CARBON OBSERVATORY INVESTIGATION

WASHINGTON -- NASA's Rick Obenschain, deputy director at NASA's
Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., will lead the
investigation board for the unsuccessful launch of the Orbiting
Carbon Observatory on Feb. 24.

The Mishap Investigation Board, or MIB, will have four other members.
NASA will announce the names of additional members as they become
available. The board will gather information, analyze the facts, and
identify the failure's cause or causes and contributing factors. The
MIB will make recommendations for actions to prevent a similar
incident.

Obenschain shares responsibility for executive leadership and overall
direction and management of Goddard and its assigned programs and
projects. He also is responsible for providing executive oversight
and technical evaluation for the development and delivery for Goddard
space systems launch and operations.

Previously, Obenschain was appointed director of the Flight Projects
Directorate in September 2004, and was responsible for the day-to-day
management of more than 40 space and Earth science missions. He has
held a number of project management positions at Goddard.

Obenschain is the recipient of NASA's Distinguished Service Medal,
Exceptional Service Medal, Outstanding Leadership Medal, Equal
Opportunity Medal, and Goddard's Award of Merit. In 1995, he received
the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics von Braun
Award for Excellence in Space Program Management.

For information about the Orbiting Carbon Observatory failed launch
and investigation, visit:



http://www.nasa.gov/oco
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Jeff Bingham on 02/26/2009 03:52 AM
Attached is a picture of a group of my colleagues and myself at OSC's Dulles facility, posing in front of the OCO flight article.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Carl G on 02/26/2009 05:24 AM
I hope they allowed you to keep the shoes! :)
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Jeff Bingham on 02/26/2009 11:28 AM
I hope they allowed you to keep the shoes! :)

Hehe...they are stunningly attractive, aren't they?
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: eeergo on 02/26/2009 02:10 PM
The launch was awesomely stunning in spite of its outcome... see this GIF made by a camera in Santa Barbara. It's amazing to see the panoramic view of the smoke clouds the rocket leaves:

http://www.sbig.com/allsky/VAFB/VAFBCarbonObservatory.gif
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Chris Bergin on 02/26/2009 04:31 PM
Attached is a picture of a group of my colleagues and myself at OSC's Dulles facility, posing in front of the OCO flight article.

Nice photo! Such a shame that its time in space was really short.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Lee Jay on 02/28/2009 09:53 PM
As somebody said earlier, still a lot of bones in the herringbone.

I'm just wondering how long it might be before we hear if the pruning of the fault tree is going swiftly or not.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 03/02/2009 06:44 PM
As somebody said earlier, still a lot of bones in the herringbone.

I'm just wondering how long it might be before we hear if the pruning of the fault tree is going swiftly or not.

Dont know if the timelines are going to be similar, but the previous failure review board determined the cause within about two months, however since this will be a NASA investigation as opposed to an internal OSC review I do not know how long it will take.

http://www.spaceflightnow.com/taurus/t6/011107update.html
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: WHAP on 03/02/2009 06:59 PM
http://www.space-travel.com/reports/The_Case_Of_The_Fairing_That_Would_Not_999.html

It's always fun to speculate, but it's also dangerous to assume everything you've been told via press release (which originated within ~24 hours of the failure) is correct.  As more data becomes available and is scrutinized, the hypotheses may change, and OSC isn't necessarily going to provide updates until they've made progress - not just when another limb is pruned.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: TR1 on 03/02/2009 07:57 PM

The Space-Travel article is incorrect in at least one statement.  Strictly speaking, the Taurus fairing is separated by ordnance devices, but they are not "shaped ordnance devices".

Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: jacqmans on 03/03/2009 08:48 PM
RELEASE: 09-047

NASA ANNOUNCES MISHAP BOARD MEMBERS FOR OCO INVESTIGATION


WASHINGTON -- NASA has selected the members of the board that will
investigate the unsuccessful launch of the Orbiting Carbon
Observatory, or OCO, on Feb. 24. Rick Obenschain, deputy director at
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., will lead the
mishap investigation board.

The board consists of four other voting members:
-- Jose Caraballo, safety manager at NASA's Langley Research Center in
Hampton, Va.
-- Patricia Jones, acting chief of the Human Systems Integration
Division in the Exploration Technology Directorate at NASA's Ames
Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif.
-- Richard Lynch, Aerospace Systems Engineering, Goddard Space Flight
Center
-- Dave Sollberger, deputy chief engineer of the NASA Launch Services
Program at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The ex officio member is Ruth Jones, Safety and Mission Assurance
manager at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
The ex officio member assures board activity conforms to NASA
procedural requirements.

The board began its investigation March 3. The members will gather
information, analyze the facts, and identify the failure's cause or
causes and contributing factors. The board will make recommendations
for actions to prevent a similar incident.

The OCO satellite failed to reach orbit after its 4:55 a.m. EST
liftoff Feb. 24 from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base.

For information about the OCO failed launch and investigation, visit:



http://www.nasa.gov/oco
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: edkyle99 on 06/04/2009 08:22 PM
I've laid eyes on a draft copy of the OSC Mishap Investigation Board's report. After a quite extensive effort involving lab tests and telemetry analysis, the team has reached some conclusions.

It is believed that the fairing separation failure was caused by a failure in the Hot Gas Generator mechanism. The HGG is a pyro-activated device which generates the pressure to actuate pistons which set the fairing in motion. Analysis indicates that mechanical shocks from earlier pyro events which start the fairing jettison process caused the HGG's pyros to malfunction. The two initiators did not do their job of "starting a fire" in the HGG, hence no pressure was built up to drive the pistons.

Recommended corrective actions include changing from a hot-gas system to a cold-gas system. If the HGG is retained, it is recommended that the shock environment be reduced somehow, along with modification to the initiators to preclude the potential for shock damage. There are other recommendations, but those are the key ones.

No word yet on what solution will be chosen, nor how this will impact preparations for the T9/Glory mission.

Thank you for the update, Mr. Rat, errr, Pad!  A question, hasn't this fairing separation mechanism flown on Taurus XL before?   

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 06/05/2009 10:08 AM
It is believed that the fairing separation failure was caused by a failure in the Hot Gas Generator mechanism. The HGG is a pyro-activated device which generates the pressure to actuate pistons which set the fairing in motion. Analysis indicates that mechanical shocks from earlier pyro events which start the fairing jettison process caused the HGG's pyros to malfunction. The two initiators did not do their job of "starting a fire" in the HGG, hence no pressure was built up to drive the pistons.

Recommended corrective actions include changing from a hot-gas system to a cold-gas system.

(snip)

Interesting draft conclusions.

I'd guess that the lesson here is 'KISS'.  Every component in the chain that has to do something in order to get to the desired result is a potential failure point in the chain.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: jacqmans on 07/17/2009 03:10 PM
RELEASE: 09-163

NASA RELEASES ORBITING CARBON OBSERVATORY ACCIDENT SUMMARY

WASHINGTON -- A NASA panel that investigated the unsuccessful Feb. 24
launch of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, or OCO, has completed its
report.

NASA's OCO satellite to study atmospheric carbon dioxide launched
aboard a Taurus XL rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in
California on Feb. 24 at 4:55 a.m. EST, but it failed to reach orbit.


The Mishap Investigation Board led by Rick Obenschain, deputy director
at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., verified
that the Taurus launch vehicle fairing failed to separate upon
command. The fairing is a clamshell structure that encapsulates the
satellite as it travels through the atmosphere. The failure to shed
the fairing mass prevented the satellite from reaching its planned
orbit and resulted in its destruction.

The board identified four potential causes that could have resulted in
the fairing not separating:
*  A failure of the frangible joint subsystem. A frangible joint is an
explosive device that provides instantaneous separation of flight
vehicle structures while maintaining confinement of explosive debris.

*  A failure in the electrical subsystem that prevented sufficient
electrical current to initiate the required ordnance devices.
*  A failure in the pneumatic system, which supplies pressure to
thrusters which separate the fairing.
*  A cord snagged on a frangible joint side rail nut plate.

The panel also provided recommendations to prevent any future problems
associated with the four hardware components that could have caused
the OCO accident.

The six-member board began its investigation in early March. The panel
conducted hardware testing; performed and reviewed engineering
analysis and simulation data; reviewed telemetry data; collected and
secured more than 2,000 documents; and conducted 78 interviews of
critical personnel associated with the mission.

The official report of the board contains information restricted by
U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations and company sensitive
proprietary information. As a result, the board has prepared a
summary of its report, which provides an overview of publicly
releasable findings and recommendations regarding the OCO mission
failure. The summary is available at:



http://www.nasa.gov/oco

Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: marsavian on 07/17/2009 04:22 PM
http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/369037main_OCOexecutivesummary_71609.pdf
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Galactic Penguin SST on 11/20/2012 11:17 AM
Bump due to the actual cause of the launch failure being found almost 4 years after the accident: http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3a04ce340e-4b63-4d23-9695-d49ab661f385Post%3abcb6c326-46f0-44ef-a0ea-334de6a1e090 (http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3a04ce340e-4b63-4d23-9695-d49ab661f385Post%3abcb6c326-46f0-44ef-a0ea-334de6a1e090)
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: edkyle99 on 11/20/2012 01:40 PM
Bump due to the actual cause of the launch failure being found almost 4 years after the accident: http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3a04ce340e-4b63-4d23-9695-d49ab661f385Post%3abcb6c326-46f0-44ef-a0ea-334de6a1e090 (http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3a04ce340e-4b63-4d23-9695-d49ab661f385Post%3abcb6c326-46f0-44ef-a0ea-334de6a1e090)

Metallurgy! 

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Gene DiGennaro on 11/20/2012 01:45 PM
Metallographic failure analysis is my line of work!
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Comga on 11/20/2012 03:41 PM
Bump due to the actual cause of the launch failure being found almost 4 years after the accident: http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3a04ce340e-4b63-4d23-9695-d49ab661f385Post%3abcb6c326-46f0-44ef-a0ea-334de6a1e090 (http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3a04ce340e-4b63-4d23-9695-d49ab661f385Post%3abcb6c326-46f0-44ef-a0ea-334de6a1e090)
Does anyone have an illustration or photograph of the part being discussed?
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: robertross on 11/20/2012 03:52 PM
Bump due to the actual cause of the launch failure being found almost 4 years after the accident: http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3a04ce340e-4b63-4d23-9695-d49ab661f385Post%3abcb6c326-46f0-44ef-a0ea-334de6a1e090 (http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3a04ce340e-4b63-4d23-9695-d49ab661f385Post%3abcb6c326-46f0-44ef-a0ea-334de6a1e090)
Does anyone have an illustration or photograph of the part being discussed?

see page 12 for a 'small image' of one

http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/pages/images/stories/PSDS%20Steering%20Cmte%20Feb%202010%20Frick.pdf

Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/20/2012 05:30 PM
So does slumping in the super zip tube mean that the explosive (I assume some sort of Det Cord) does not go all the way to the top of tube and prevents the top of the channel from being separated? IE an angry alligator with the top of the fairing being held closed because it did not get unzipped?
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Jim on 11/20/2012 06:02 PM
I think Titan-Centaur did for its shroud.


That would only be T-IIIE/D

No, it use the T-IV and T-IIIC/34D used the Delta system
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Jim on 11/20/2012 11:59 PM
Can you say if SuperZip is still in use on Atlas-V Centaur now?

Atlas doesn't use it now or in the past.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: strangequark on 11/21/2012 05:27 AM
Can you say if SuperZip is still in use on Atlas-V Centaur now?

Atlas doesn't use it now or in the past.

Okay, thanks for the info. I know it had been intended for use on Centaur G as well, so I'd thought it was across all Centaur versions of the time. I appreciate the clarification.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/21/2012 12:46 PM
Any word as to the likelihood that this was the cause of the GLORY failure too? IIRC, in both cases the PLF didn't separate.

It's good that a likely root cause has been found and even better that Orbital have a fix.  Hopefully, this will wrap up this particular issue.  :)

Of course, in the Space Biz, now we've got to wait until the next issue emerges. :o
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/21/2012 12:57 PM
Any word as to the likelihood that this was the cause of the GLORY failure too? IIRC, in both cases the PLF didn't separate.
Same article is quoted in the GLORY thread as the root cause.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Kabloona on 11/23/2012 01:14 PM
Since we're discussing Super*Zip type systems...the last (and only) Orbital product to actually use Super*Zip was the Transfer Orbit Stage (TOS) on the TOS/ACTS mission on Shuttle in 1994.

The Super*Zip was used to deploy the TOS/ACTS stack from the Shuttle cargo bay. I was the Orbital PIE for the Super*Zip, which we procured from the vendor and provided to our TOS subcontractor, Lockheed Martin, for integration. Unfortunately, early in the electrical design process, LockMart made an engineering error that would cause BOTH the primary and backup det cords to fire when the astronaut pressed the appropriate button to deploy TOS/ACTS, instead of only the primary det cord.

So when the astronauts actually deployed the stack, the Super*Zip fired with twice the designed force, rupturing the containment tube and spraying the cargo bay with doubler fragments. Needless to say, NASA was not pleased. Fortunately the orbiter was not seriously damaged. But, damn, that Super*Zip sure unzipped completely! Which goes to say, sometimes the answer is to just double the amount of explosives involved. ;-)
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/23/2012 02:51 PM
Are you implying that any problem can be solved by using enough explosives ;)
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Kabloona on 11/25/2012 01:28 AM
Are you implying that any problem can be solved by using enough explosives ;)

When the problem is how to separate Part A from Part B, absolutely!
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/26/2012 04:03 PM
Are you implying that any problem can be solved by using enough explosives ;)

When the problem is how to separate Part A from Part B, absolutely!

It boils down to whether or not you are content to have both parts reduced to confetti or whether you want one or both parts relatively intact.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Kim Keller on 11/26/2012 07:57 PM
It boils down to whether or not you are content to have both parts reduced to confetti or whether you want one or both parts relatively intact.

The most critical piece of the challenge is to not damage that which you enclose. It doesn't do any good to ensure adequate separation if the act damages the payload.

And never forget - in rocketry and space travel it's ALL about the payload.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Kim Keller on 11/26/2012 08:01 PM
Pegaus only uses frangibles for the base ring, not the sep plane between the fairing halves, which eliminates charge holder slumping as a failure mode. If NASA thinks it affects Pegasus, then Atlas V may have some explaining to do too.

NASA does think it affects Pegasus, since the frangible joint comes from the same vendor that provided the Taurus joints. Atlas is not a customer of that vendor.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/27/2012 01:21 AM

1. The only joint on Pegasus is oriented perpendicularly to the axis where charge holder slumping is a concern. If NASA is really thinks it affects Pegasus, it means they think the material's property issue can be a primary cause of failure, rather than just a contributor.

Considering Pegasus is processed and launched from a horizontal position, being perpendicular to the axis of concern places the charge in a perpendicular orientation (to gravity, but not acceleration forces) ;)
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: Kim Keller on 11/27/2012 01:14 PM
3. Had the Centaur on Atlas used SuperZip, the vendor might be different, but it's still an aluminum extrusion of the same/similar alloy. Some confidence testing, or at least a comprehensive requirements review, would be in order.

My comments were not directed at the charge slumping, but at the frangible joint's metallurgy itself. There is concern over the processes used by the vendor in manufacturing the extrusion, not the alloy itself.
Title: Re: FAILED: Taurus XL - OCO - Feb 23/24, 09.
Post by: marsman2020 on 11/28/2012 03:50 AM
That charts from the meeting are here - http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/707192main_Gerstenmaier_HEO_NAC_20121115.pdf - with a slide on the OCO/Glory failures on slide 28.

What I find very interesting is the statement made by the poster above that a failure mode was identified through the centrifuge testing at NTS, because that testing at least started in May 2011 with the Glory NASA MIB in attendance to watch, but the Glory NASA MIB wrapped up in April 2012 without being able to find a root cause (per these charts).  So the report that is eventually "summarized" to the public won't really tell anyone anything about these $700 million in total failures....  Also, it's taken 7 months to create a publicly releasable summary of the document which is way outside of NASA guidelines for how quickly it's supposed to be released.

So with the MIB wrapped up an no conclusion, the investigation continues with LSP & OSC, but there is no requirement to tell the public anything.

Quote
What I think Gerst is referencing in the article is that we've also determined, recently, that for some rails the property in question varies pretty dramatically along the length of the extrusion. It's something that you don't necessarily pick up on unless you measure every inch or half inch. Luckily, it is something that can be measured, even for an installed vehicle.

As far as the material properties of the entire extrusion go - I recall one of the findings of the OCO MIB:

Quote
1) Frangible Joint Subsystem failure caused fairing not to separate.
It could not be determined if the frangible joint base ring fractured completely as designed. An incomplete fracture could have resulted in the fairing not separating. The MIB looked at the materials used and their characteristics and made the following
recommendations:
1. Verify that the Taurus launch vehicle frangible joint (fairing rail, base ring, and Stage 2/ Stage 3) extrusions have a traceable pedigree on future NASA missions.  If pedigree cannot be verified, remove and replace the assigned hardware with frangible joints that have a complete pedigree.
2. Establish a single heat treat lot requirement for aluminum used to manufacture extrusion and perform sub-scale tests on the lot.
3. Institute permanent marking (which cannot be removed during processing) along the length of the extrusion at intervals to ensure traceability.
4. Implement a common procurement and assembly process for frangible joints used on Taurus similar to Orbital’s other programs.

The pedigree and correctness of the heat treat of the frangible joints was clearly *already in peoples minds* after OCO - because the joints that were installed on T8 didn't have traceability (doesn't LSP require ASA9100 as part of their contract?)  I do not understand how if the recommendations above were followed prior to Glory, a joint could be installed with improper heat treatment, since the OCO MIB basically said "make some of these and measure every inch."