I'm sure it was just a simple malfunction. It's not like there are people out there who would stoop to such levels as to sabotage a NASA rocket. Right?
(CNN) -- A NASA satellite crashed back to Earth about three minutes after launch early Tuesday, officials said.
"We could not make orbit," NASA program manager John Brunschwyler said. "Initial indications are the vehicle did not have enough [force] to reach orbit and landed just short of Antarctica in the ocean."
"Certainly for the science community, it's a huge disappointment."
The satellite, which would have monitored greenhouse gases to study how they affect the Earth's climate, was launched on a rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 1:55 a.m. PT (4:55 a.m. ET).
But the payload fairing -- a clamshell-shaped structure that allows the satellite to travel through space -- failed to separate from the rocket, NASA officials said.