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Sun, Feb 27, 2011

NASA Assessing New Launch Dates For The Glory Mission

Problem Seems To Be Coming From The Vehicle Interface Control Console

Preparations for the launch of NASA's Glory mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California have been suspended temporarily. Engineers continue to troubleshoot a malfunction in ground support equipment associated with the Taurus XL rocket.

On Feb. 23, a false indication was received about the rocket's status after commands were sent approximately 15 minutes before launch to activate the Taurus. "We had an indication that a 'hold-fire' command was sent when indeed it had not," said Omar Baez, NASA launch director.

The commands originated from the Vehicle Interface Control Console in the mobile launch support van stationed a few miles from the launch pad. The problem has not yet been isolated, and troubleshooting continues. Managers are evaluating possible Glory launch opportunities in early to mid-March.

"The Glory spacecraft is doing fine," reported Bryan Fafaul, Glory project manager from NASA's Goddard Space Flight in Greenbelt, MD. "We are continuing to slow charge the battery until we have a new launch date."

The Glory satellite will be launched aboard a Taurus on a mission to improve our understanding of how the sun and tiny atmospheric particles called aerosols affect Earth's climate. Glory launch management is provided by NASA's Launch Service Program at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Orbital Sciences Corp. is providing the Taurus XL launch vehicle and is responsible for spacecraft operations.

FMI: www.nasa.gov/glory

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