Carrying NASA’s Glory satellite, the Taurus XL rocket, that was lifted from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California were plummeted several minutes later into the Pacific after the take off. It was the second time after two years that the launching of the NASA satellite rocket fails.
In the year 2009, another climate-monitoring probe with the same type of rocket was plummeted into the ocean, and engineers thought they had the problem in control.
“It is more than embarrassing,” said Henry Lambright, the policy professor of the University of Syracuse. “Something was missed in the first investigation and the work that went on afterward.”
The back to back fiascos could have political repercussions, according to Lambright, giving the climate-change skeptics and Republicans more ammunition to raise question on whether “this is a good way to spend taxpayers’ money for rockets to fail and for a purpose they find suspect.”
The climate-monitoring system was at “risk of collapse” and that the research and purchasing for NASA Earth sciences had been decreased to thirty percent in six consecutive years, the panel of National Academies of Science said in 2007. Then, two major satellite proposals were canceled by the Obama administration last month to save money. The environmental division of NASA is already getting used to cuts, criticism, and failures.
The Earth-observing satellites of NASA are still up there , and all of them remain there.
“Many of the key observations for climate studies are simply not being made,” said James Anderson, a Harvard Earth Earth sciences professor. “This is the nadir of climate studies since I’ve been working in this area for forty years.”
When the rocket’s clamshell-shaped protective covering that was supposed to shield the rocket never opened to let the satellite fire into the orbit, the launching of the Glory failed. In 2009, a similar fiasco happened when the Orbiting Carbon Observatory fell back to the Earth after the separation of the rocket nose also failed.
According to many scientists, the NASA’s Earth-watching system is in sorry shape after years if belt-tightening. Any money for the projects of the environmental satellites will now still have to survive global warming politics, budget-cutting.