NASA Unsuccessful with OCO; North Korea Not Deterred

Allison Loudermilk

Ah geez. After all that, NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory failed to launch this morning after its scheduled 4:55 a.m. liftoff. Instead of tracking your carbon footprint from on high as we wrote about here last week, it's probably watching fish swim by somewhere on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, according to NASA official John Brunschwyler.

Preliminary fingers are pointing at the fairing, the structure that protects the satellite as it moves through the skies. Apparently, the structure failed to separate. Bummer. The observatory could have returned a ton of useful information. NASA is slated to hold a press conference later this morning. Does anyone think the agency intends to try again?

In more news from the skies, North Korea doesn't appear to be deterred by NASA's failure and is planning to hurl some stuff upward, too. I say "stuff" because people are torn on what exactly the country is planning to launch. North Korea maintains it's a harmless scientific satellite, while what the New York Times calls "outside experts" think it's a missile that could potentially reach Hawaii or Alaska. The date of the launch is also up in the air -- days or weeks according to whom you ask. Here's a link to the official statement, reprinted courtesy of Korea News Services.

If you're not exactly sure what a satellite or a missile is, you can read about a veritable assortment of them here or here. HowStuffWorks also speculated a while back on whether North Korea is equipped to attack the United States in this article. Read it and find out.