Science

NASA Launches Latest Earth-Orbiting Satellite

  • A Taurus XL rocket blasted off carrying NASA's Glory satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base early Friday March 4, 2011.

    A Taurus XL rocket blasted off carrying NASA's Glory satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base early Friday March 4, 2011.  (AP Photo/Bryan Walton - Santa Maria Times)

  • An illustration of the Glory satellite in orbit over the Earth.

    An illustration of the Glory satellite in orbit over the Earth.  (NASA)

A rocket carrying an Earth-observation satellite has blasted off.

Vandenberg Air Force Base officials say the Taurus XL rocket carrying NASA's Glory satellite lifted off at 2:09 a.m. PST Friday from the base.

Glory is on a three-year mission to analyze how airborne particles affect Earth's climate. Besides monitoring particles in the atmosphere, it will also track solar radiation to determine the sun's effect on climate change.

The $424 million mission is managed by the NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.