WASHINGTON, Feb. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA's Glory mission is scheduled to launch Wednesday, Feb. 23, from Space Launch Complex 576-E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Liftoff is targeted for 5:09 a.m. EST (2:09 a.m. PST) in the middle of a 48-second launch window.
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 – the amount of energy entering and exiting Earth's atmosphere. An accurate measurement of these impacts is important to anticipate future changes to our climate.
The first of NASA's Educational Launch of Nanosatellite, or ELaNa, missions also will be launched on the Taurus XL rocket. These auxiliary payloads are three small satellites called CubeSats, each designed and created by university and college students.
NASA Television will carry prelaunch media briefings on the Glory and ELaNa missions on Monday, Feb. 21, starting at 4 p.m. EST (1 p.m. PST) from Vandenberg. Reporters who cannot attend the briefings can ask questions from NASA field centers.
On Feb. 23, NASA TV coverage of the countdown will begin at 3:30 a.m. EST (12:30 a.m. PST). Liftoff is targeted for 5:09:43 a.m. EST (2:09:43 a.m. PST). Spacecraft separation from the Taurus occurs 13 minutes after launch. The briefings and launch coverage also will be streamed online at:
Launch coverage of Glory countdown activities will appear on NASA's launch blog starting at 3:30 a.m. EST (12:30 a.m. PST). Real-time updates of countdown milestones as well as streaming video clips highlighting launch preparations and liftoff will be available at:
The launch news center at the NASA Vandenberg Resident Office will be staffed beginning Feb. 15. To speak with a NASA Public Affairs Officer, call 805-605-3051. A recorded status report will also be available starting at that time by dialing 805-734-2693.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., manages the Glory project. Mission launch management is the responsibility of NASA's Launch Services Program at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., which built the Glory satellite, also is the launch service provider of the four-stage Taurus XL rocket.
For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit: