NASA Glory Satellite Fails to Reach Orbit, Obama Speaks to Astronauts
NASA's Glory mission launched March 4 but failed to enter orbit and instead fell somewhere into the waters of the South Pacific, the space agency reported. At a news conference following the unsuccessful attempt to place the Glory spacecraft in orbit, a team from NASA and Orbital Sciences Corporation, maker of the Taurus XL rocket, discussed the failure of the rocket's fairing to separate.
The fairing, which covers and protects the spacecraft during launch and ascent, underwent a redesign of its separation system after a similar failure two years ago. NASA said the new system has been successfully used on another orbital launch vehicle several times. Launch Director Omar Baez said the countdown and launch went smoothly until the point at which they should have received data indicating that the fairing had separated from the vehicle.
Baez said once more data is analyzed, the teams hope to have a
better understanding of what went wrong and where in the South Pacific
the spacecraft may have landed. The new Earth-observing satellite was
intended to improve understanding of how the sun and tiny atmospheric
particles called aerosols affect Earth's climate.
A more successful NASA endeavor connected President Barack Obama to
the crew of the space shuttle Discovery, on its final mission into
orbit, and the crew of the International Space Station (ISS). "We are
always inspired by the images of you guys at work as you work to put
some of the final pieces in place to make the ISS fully operational,"
Obama told the space fliers, traveling five miles per second 221 miles
above the Earth. "You are setting such a great example with your
dedication, your courage, your commitment to exploration. Col. Lindsey,
it must be a great honor to be the last commander of Discovery."
The crew members also discussed with the president the delivery of
the humanoid Robonaut 2 and international cooperation, exhibited by the
presence of vehicles and components from all of the program's partners.
The president joked with the crew as to the duties of the first
humanoid robot in space, wondering aloud if Robonaut 2 would be washing
dishes for the crew. The president also chided the crew after admitting
the robot had not yet been unpacked. "Come on guys, unpack the guy,"
Obama joked. "He flew all that way, and you aren't unpacking him?"
Space shuttle Discovery's crew will be getting in some extra work inside the new Leonardo Permanent Multipurpose Module in the first of two days that have been added to the STS-133 mission. The additional days are to allow Discovery's crew more time to help the ISS crew members get the Leonardo module unpacked and set up for permanent life in orbit and to help with equipment repair.
The day started at 3:23 a.m. March 4, when the day's wake-up song, "The Ritual/Ancient Battle/2nd Kroykah," from volume two of "Star Trek: The Original Television Soundtrack", better known as the Star Trek fight song, was played for the crew. The crew's training team chose the song, NASA reported.