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.