At Space Launch Complex 576-E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, a crane maneuvers NASA's Glory spacecraft, encapsulated in its protective fairing, onto a stationary rail. There it will then be joined with the Taurus XL rocket's third stage, already delivered to a temporary processing tent near the pad.
The Orbital Sciences Corp. Taurus XL rocket will carry Glory into low Earth orbit. Once Glory reaches orbit, it will collect data on the properties of aerosols and black carbon. It also will help scientists understand how the sun's irradiance affects Earth's climate. Launch is scheduled for 5:09 a.m. EST Feb. 23. For information, visit www.nasa.gov/glory. Photo credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin, VAFB