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NASA Glory Satellite Launch Is A Dismal Failure

Artist's depiction of the Glory Satellite

Artist's depiction of the Glory Satellite

The NASA Glory Satellite, intended to study the Earth’s climate, plunged into the southern Pacific Ocean somewhere early on March 4, 2011, due to a failure of the rocket’s payload casing to separate 5 minutes after launch.

The failure is a huge embarrassment for NASA, costing $424 million, which is just the cost of the satellite, not including the cost of the rocket and labor.

The launcher/rocket is a Taurus XL and was designed by Orbital Sciences Corporation which has failed NASA before after a failed launch attempt in February 2009.

Rich Straka from Orbital Sciences Corporation said his company was investigating the failure, noting, “there really isn’t enough data to say anything more than the fairing didn’t separate.”

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