Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NASA Releases Orbiting Carbon Observatory Accident Summary

Date:
July 17, 2009
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
A NASA panel that investigated the unsuccessful Feb. 24 launch of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, or OCO, has completed its report. Experts identified four potential causes that could have resulted in the fairing not separating.

Artist concept of Aura spacecraft.
Credit: NASA/JPL

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 1:55 a.m. PST, 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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "NASA Releases Orbiting Carbon Observatory Accident Summary." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090717125319.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2009, July 17). NASA Releases Orbiting Carbon Observatory Accident Summary. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090717125319.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "NASA Releases Orbiting Carbon Observatory Accident Summary." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090717125319.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA EDGE: OCO-2 Launch

NASA EDGE: OCO-2 Launch

NASA (July 25, 2014) NASA EDGE webcasts live from Vandenberg AFB for the launch of the Oribiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO) launch. Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, July 25, 2014

This Week @ NASA, July 25, 2014

NASA (July 25, 2014) Apollo 11 celebration, Next Giant Leap anticipation, ISS astronauts appear in the House and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space to Ground: Coming and Going

Space to Ground: Coming and Going

NASA (July 25, 2014) One station cargo ship leaves, another arrives, aquatic research and commercial spinoffs. Questions or comments? Use #spacetoground to talk to us. Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins