On Space Launch Complex 576-E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, workers in a bucket conduct closeout procedures on the Taurus XL rocket in preparations for liftoff. The umbilical tower attached to the upper stack will fall away from the spacecraft during launch.
The Orbital Sciences Taurus XL rocket will launch 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