This image is an artist's concept of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO).

This image is an artist's concept of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO).

On February 24, 2009, NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory satellite failed to reach orbit after its 1:55 a.m. PST 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.

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