Yesterday morning at 1:55 a.m., NASA launched a satellite designed to precisely measure flows of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, called the Orbiting Carbon Observatory. Unfortunately the nosecone failed to open as the mission neared orbit, and the satellite crashed into the sea near Antarctica.
Bad news for NASA — and the planet — but an interesting night for yours truly. Never attended a press conference at 5:00 a.m. before. If you're curious, you can see me asking tough questions of emotionally-devastated engineers on NASA TV (link). They called it a "contingency briefing."
Will post the story when it runs tomorrow in the Santa Barbara Independent. For now, here's a snapshot of lift-off…an impressive event, even from four miles away. Within thirty seconds the mission was ten miles high and traveling at 2000 mph.