It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
VANDENBERG AFB, Calif. - The launch of NASA's Glory spacecraft aboard an Orbital Sciences Taurus XL rocket is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 23. Liftoff will be from Space Launch Complex 576-E at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), Calif. Liftoff is targeted for 2:09:43 a.m. PST (5:09:43 a.m. EST) in the middle of a 48-second launch window. The spacecraft's final polar orbit will be 438 nautical miles (508 miles) at an inclination of 98.2 degrees. Data from the Glory mission will allow scientists to better understand how the sun and tiny atmospheric particles called aerosols affect Earth's climate. Both aerosols and solar energy influence the planet's energy budget, which is the amount of energy entering and exiting Earth's atmosphere. An accurate measurement of these impacts is important in order to anticipate future changes to our climate and how they may affect human life. The first of NASA's Educational Launch of Nanosatellite, or ELaNa, missions also will be launched on the Taurus XL. These auxiliary payloads are small satellites called CubeSats. Each is designed and created by university and college students. Three satellites will be deployed on ELaNa-1. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- LAUNCH VISIBILITY by Brian Webb Wednesday morning's launch of a Taurus XL rocket from Vandenberg AFB remains on schedule. The rocket is slated to lift-off from launch pad 576E at 02:09:43 PST, the middle of a 48-second launch window. The Taurus will initially rise vertically before it slowly pitches over and heads southward. If the launch occurs as planned, the rocket will carry NASA's Glory spacecraft and several university satellites into orbit. The Taurus is a solid propellant, multi-stage rocket. Solid propellant produces a dazzlingly bright light when it burns. That, combined with the fact that the launch will occur at night, the rocket has multiple stages that will burn for several minutes as the vehicle gains altitude and covers a great distance, means the event may be visible over a wide area. The launch could be visible to the naked eye as far away as San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Needles, Yuma, and the interior of northwest Mexico. Observers within 150 miles of the vehicle's flight path should see a bright, moving orange object. For observers further away, the Taurus may resemble a faint, moving orange or red star. Observers as far away as San Marcos Pass and possibly Santa Barbara may hear a low rumble from the rocket about three minutes after liftoff.