WASHINGTON -- NASA's newest Earth-observing research mission is nearing launch. The Glory mission will improve our understanding of how the sun and tiny atmospheric particles called aerosols affect Earth's climate. Glory also will extend a legacy of long-term solar measurements needed to address key uncertainties about climate change.
Glory is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Feb. 23 at 5:09 a.m. EST. It will join a fleet called the Afternoon Constellation or "A-train" of satellites. This group of other Earth-observing satellites, including NASA's Aqua and Aura spacecraft, flies in tight formation.
"Glory is going to help scientists tackle one of the major uncertainties in climate change predictions identified by the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: the influence of aerosols on the energy balance of our planet," said Michael Freilich, director of NASA's Earth Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate at the agency's headquarters in Washington. "This mission also marks the first satellite launch under President Obama's climate initiative that will advance the United States' contribution to cutting-edge and policy-relevant climate change science."
Originally confirmed in 2005, Glory has been developed by a team of engineers and scientists at several government, industry and academic institutions across the country. The Glory spacecraft arrived at Vandenberg on Jan. 11 after a cross-country road trip from Orbital Sciences Corporation in Dulles, Va.
"The spacecraft is in place at the launch and all of the post-shipment inspections and electrical tests have been completed," said Bryan Fafaul, Glory project manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The spacecraft will be mated to Orbital's Taurus XL 3110 rocket next month.
Glory will carry new technology designed to unravel some of the most complex elements of the Earth sy
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NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center