The rocket launched early Thursday morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base, but the glory spacecraft failed to separate from the rocket as planned. That left the Glory spacecraft without the velocity to reach orbit, NASA launch commentator George Diller said.
NASA said it looks like the rocket is in Pacific Ocean after the failed launch.
The Taurus XL rocket carrying NASA's Glory satellite lifted off about 2:10 a.m. PST.
Glory's mission is to analyze how airborne particles affect earth's climate.
Aside from monitoring particles in the atmosphere, Glory was also supposed to track solar radiation to determine the sun's effect on climate change.
Friday's launch came after engineers spent more than a week troubleshooting a glitch that led to a last-minute scrub.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.