It would have been the first dedicated satellite for the study of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Instead, a failure during launch has scuttled NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory in the Pacific near Antarctica.
The launch used a Taurus XL rocket, a small, cheap launch vehicle that has been successfully launched six times before today's failure. Trouble emerged in the final stage of orbital placement, when the rocket's fairing (the housing surrounding the satellite payload) failed to separate completely, which rendered the craft too heavy to reach orbit.
Did the last few hundred brain-dead global warming deniers sabotage this launch?? No, they're not smart enough. Here's hoping a similar mission can get back up on its feet soon. [NASA]