As epic fails go, this one's a doozy.
Call it a $424 million Glory hole. Because that's how much it cost to develop, build and launch the Glory mission satellite that ended up dunking in the water off of the Southern California coast early this morning, a NASA rep tells the Weekly.
Whew. That's enough to cover L.A. City Hall's budget deficit and — almost — its salary overspending for this year and next. Here's what happened, according to NASA:
Telemetry indicated the fairing, the protective shell atop the Taurus XL rocket, did not separate as expected about three minutes after launch.
The satellite was intended for weather and environment observation and was perched atop a Taurus XL rocket. It was sent off at 5:09 a.m. at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara.
“We failed to make orbit,” NASA launch director Omar Baez said, according to Associated Press. “Indications are that the satellite and rocket … is in the southern Pacific Ocean somewhere.”
The fail follows another doomed attempt in 2009, with the same kind of satellite and the same kind of rocket. And NASA spent a year studying that mission in an attempt not to come up with a two-peat.
Another Taurus launch was scheduled for 2013.