WASHINGTON — NASA has temporarily suspended preparations to launch its Glory climate observation satellite after a malfunction occurred with the ground support equipment for the Taurus XL rocket that will carry the satellite into its polar orbit, the agency announced Feb. 24.
About 15 minutes before Glory was to launch Feb. 23, launch managers received a false indication about the status of the rocket, NASA said in a press release. The source of the problem has not yet been identified, and NASA is now evaluating possible launch opportunities in early to mid-March, it said.
The Glory satellite, built by Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., is designed to study solar irradiance and aerosol particles in the Earth’s atmosphere that are believed to be associated with global climate change.
The Taurus XL rocket, also built by Orbital Sciences, is making its return to flight two years after a launch failure that destroyed NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory satellite.