Van Allen Probes Launch
Spacecraft: Van Allen Probes (formerly known as the Radiation Belt Storm Probes)
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V-401
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex-41
Launch Date: Aug. 30, 2012
Launch Time: 4:05 a.m. EDT
NASA's Van Allen Probes (aka Radiation Belt Storm Probes, or RBSP) lift off Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann
Successful Liftoff Begins Unprecedented Study of Radiation Belts
NASA's two-year Van Allen Probes mission began Aug. 30, 2012 with an early morning launch from Space Launch Complex-41 on Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The twin probes rode into orbit aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket after a smooth countdown that saw no significant technical problems or weather concerns.
Prelaunch Webcast: Twin Spacecraft to Study the Sun's Influence on Earth
Two wide rings of high-intensity particles encircle our planet's equator. Known as the Van Allen Radiation Belts, their behavior in response to the sun directly impacts life on Earth and in orbit. NASA's two-year Van Allen Probes mission aims to study this ever-changing space environment in greater detail than ever before.