NASA said its Glory mission, launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California Friday 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, NASA said in a statement.
NASA will hold a press briefing to discuss the Glory launch failure at Vandenberg at about 8:00 a.m. EST.
NASA satellite Glory was launched to collect data on the properties and distribution of aerosols in Earth's atmosphere and on solar irradiance. The data collected would have enabled scientists to draw conclusions on how the sun and tiny atmospheric particles called aerosols affect Earth's climate
Both aerosols and solar energy influence the planet's energy budget -- the amount of energy entering and exiting Earth's atmosphere. An accurate measurement of the impact is important in order to anticipate future changes to Earth's climate and how they may affect human life.
Aerosols are tiny liquid and solid particles suspended in the atmosphere. These particles are crucial to Earth's climate system and are present nearly everywhere, from the upper reaches of the atmosphere to the surface air that humans breathe.
The failure of Glory mission raises new questions about NASA’s next mission, Aquarius. Scheduled to be launched in June, Aquarius is a joint mission with Space Agency of Argentina to measure the salinity levels of the global sea surface.