U.S. earth-observation satellite crashes into Pacific Ocean

11:25, March 05, 2011      

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NASA's earth-observation satellite Glory apparently fell into the Pacific Ocean after a failed launch, a NASA official said early Friday.

"All indications are that the satellite and rocket are in the southern Pacific Ocean somewhere," NASA launch director Omar Baez said at a news conference after the mishap.

NASA said in a statement that the rocket's first three solid-fuel stages ignited as planned, but the protective shell atop the rocket, which lifted off about 2:10 a.m. PST (1010 GMT) from Vandenberg Air Force Base, did not separate as expected about three minutes after launch.

"We are at T+plus 300 seconds," Richard Haenke, the ascent commentator, reported. "The vehicle speed error is indicating underperformance, which is expected due to a fairing not separating. We have a report the system did pressurize. However, we still have no indication of the fairing separating."

That left the Glory spacecraft without the velocity to reach orbit, NASA launch commentator George Diller said.

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