Orbital Science’s Taurus rocket is in Hangar 1555 at Vandenberg Air Force Base undergoing integration and testing of the vehicle’s flight hardware components. Mating of the first and second stages of the launch vehicle was completed on Nov. 15. The rocket then had its flight software uploaded and simulations are currently taking place.
It is hoped that information gathered from Glory will provide a better understanding of the Earth’s energy budget and how it impacts climate change. With the impact that these changes have had on human life as well as the altering of Earth’s landscape and the availability of natural resources – this mission is viewed as crucial to determine how to best predict these changes and their potential impact.
The Aerosol Polarimetry Sensor instrument onboard the spacecraft will measure aerosols (those that are caused naturally as well as those produced by man). These aerosols will be studied to see how what impact they have on the global environment. Also on this mission is the Total Irradiance Monitor instrument which will study the Sun in order to better understand the short-term solar processes that affect energy budget differences. Scientists believe this will go a long way to understanding solar activity.