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NASA Launches Radiation Belt Storm Probes Mission
08.31.2012
 
NASA’s Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP), the first twin-spacecraft mission designed to explore our planet’s radiation belts, launched into the predawn skies at 4:05a.m. EDT on August 30 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

The two satellites, each weighing just less than 1,500 pounds, comprise the first dual-spacecraft mission specifically created to investigate this hazardous regions of near-Earth space, known as the radiation belts. These two belts, named for their discoverer, James Van Allen, encircle the planet and are filled with highly charged particles. The belts are affected by solar storms and coronal mass ejections and sometimes swell dramatically. When this occurs, they can pose dangers to communications, GPS satellites and human spaceflight.

The hardy RBSP satellites will spend the next 2 years looping through every part of both Van Allen belts. By having two spacecraft in different regions of the belts at the same time, scientists finally will be able to gather data from within the belts themselves, learning how they change over space and time.

 

TRT: 5:27
Supers:          NASA
                        Richard Fitzgerald, RBSP Project Manager
                        Michael Luther, NASA Deputy Associate Administrator, Science

Center Contact: Susan Hendrix 301-286-7745
JHUAPL Contact: Geoff Brown 240-228-5618
HQ Contact: Dwayne Brown 202-358-1726

www.nasa.gov/rbsp


Richard Fitzgerald, RBSP Project Manager

Cut 1-  00:23 “Our 59 and a half days now of conditioning activities in front of us but we are very happy of the progress to date. JPL had their 7 minutes of terror recently and I had my hour and 55 minutes of terror tonight. I had dark hair when we launched,  so I’m glad to say we’re on orbit now and everybody’s happy.”
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Michael Luther, NASA Deputy Associate Administrator, Science

 Cut 2-  00:019 “Now that the spacecrafts are safely in orbit the real fun begins and we get to, after the conditioning period that Rick mentioned, we get to then begin to perform the most detailed study of the earth’s radiation belts that has ever been undertaken.”
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