Like most Americans, I assume that getting stuff out of the atmosphere is NASA's core competency. Maybe not.
From the Times of London:
Nasa has lost the centrepiece satellite of its $280 million climate-change mission after a catastrophic launch failure today.
The carbon dioxide-monitoring satellite was fired on a rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, but after blasting through the Earth’s atmosphere it fell short of its orbiting height.
A Nasa spokesman at the launch site said: “The mission has been lost. We don’t have any details at this moment. There’s an investigation under way.”>>>MORE including video.