RBSP Articles

Media were required to wear complete clean room attire on Thursday, Aug. 2, when they came out to see the Radiation Belt Storm Probes prior to encapsulation on an Atlas V rocket.

Media Day For RBSP

NASA invited the media to view its Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP) at the Astrotech Space Operations facility in Titusville, Fla. on Thursday, Aug. 2.

Five Aerospace-developed instruments will be flying on each of the two probes, which are set to launch aboard an Atlas V 401 rocket on Aug. 23. The two-year RBSP mission will help scientists develop a better understanding of the Earth’s Van Allen radiation belts and related regions that pose hazards to human and robotic explorers.

Liftoff for the Radiation Belt Storm Probes Mission

A two-satellite NASA mission to study the Van Allen radiation belts around Earth launched in the predawn darkness Friday morning from Cape Canaveral AFS.

The satellites were stowed aboard an Atlas V rocket flying in the 401 configuration — a four-meter fairing, no solid-rocket boosters, and one engine in the Centaur upper stage.

Each of the two spacecraft carries the same complement of instruments, which includes five built by Aerospace.

Called the Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP) mission, it is part of NASA’s Living With a Star Geospace program to explore fundamental processes that operate throughout the solar system, in particular those that generate hazardous space weather effects near Earth and phenomena that could affect solar system exploration.

The Radiation Belt Storm Probes mission lifts off from Cape Canaveral on Aug. 30

The instruments on the two RBSP spacecraft will provide the measurements needed to characterize and quantify the processes that produce relativistic ions and electrons. They will measure the properties of charged particles that comprise the Earth’s radiation belts and the plasma waves that interact with them, the large-scale electric fields that transport them, and the magnetic field that guides them.

Understanding the radiation belt environment and its variability has extremely important practical applications in the areas of spacecraft operations, spacecraft and spacecraft system design, mission planning, and astronaut safety.