Mar. 4, 2011 NASA's Glory spacecraft launched aboard a Taurus XL rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California Friday, March 4, 2011 at 5:09:45 a.m. EST failed to reach orbit.
Telemetry indicated the fairing, the protective shell atop the Taurus XL rocket, did not separate as expected about three minutes after launch.
The new Earth-observing satellite was intended to improve our understanding of how the sun and tiny atmospheric particles called aerosols affect Earth's climate.
NASA has now begun the process of creating a Mishap Investigation Board to evaluate the cause of the failure.
Project management for Glory is the responsibility of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The launch management for the mission is the responsibility of NASA's Launch Services Program at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., is the launch service provider to Kennedy of the four-stage Taurus XL rocket and is also builder of the Glory satellite for Goddard.
NASA's previous launch attempt of an Earth science spacecraft, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory onboard a Taurus XL on Feb. 24, 2009, also failed to reach orbit when the fairing did not separate.
NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory Mishap Investigation Board reviewed launch data and the fairing separation system design, and developed a corrective action plan. The plan was implemented by Taurus XL manufacturer Orbital Sciences Corporation. In October 2010, NASA's Flight Planning Board confirmed the successful closure of the corrective actions.
More information about Glory can be found at: http://www.nasa.gov/glory
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