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NASA: Observation Satellite Fails To Reach Orbit

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE (AP) — A rocket that blasted off early Friday carrying an Earth-observation satellite has failed to reach orbit, NASA said.

The Taurus XL rocket carrying NASA’s Glory satellite lifted off about 2:10 a.m. PST from Vandenberg Air Force Base, officials said.

But NASA said in a brief statement that a protective shell or fairing atop the rocket did not separate from the satellite as it should have about three minutes after the launch.

That left the Glory spacecraft without the velocity to reach orbit, NASA said.

Officials believe the rocket landed somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

Glory was launched on a three-year mission to analyze how airborne particles affect Earth’s climate.

Friday’s launch came after engineers spent more than a week troubleshooting a glitch that led to a last-minute scrub.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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