A wet, unsatisfactory ending for NASA’s Glory this morning, after a rocket casing malfunction saw the environmental observation satellite likely land in the South Pacific rather than reach orbit. According to the space agency, “the fairing, the protective shell atop the Taurus XL rocket, did not separate as expected about three minutes after launch.” The same issue occurred on another launch two years ago, though NASA is quick to point out that the system has been successful many times.
A NASA press briefing this morning detailed the failure a little further, but it will take a full investigation to properly figure out what went wrong on the Taurus XL rocket. Meanwhile NASA is also looking for the Glory satellite itself
“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’s project mission states. It would have orbited the Earth once every 100 minutes, using a Total Irradiance Monitor and an Aerosol Polarimetry Sensor to measure sunlight and aerosol presence.