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Spacecraft in Fairing
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Spacecraft in Fairing

January 15, 2013
At Vandenberg Air Force Base's Space Launch Complex-2 in California, technicians make final inspections of the clamshell-shaped Delta payload fairing for NASA’s National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project (NPP) spacecraft after encapsulation. The fairing will protect the spacecraft from the impact of aerodynamic pressure and heating during ascent and will be jettisoned once the spacecraft is outside the Earth's atmosphere. Image credit: NASA/Mark P. Mackley, VAFB Oct. 20, 2011