Browse Archive

  • Two giant swaths of radiation, known as the Van Allen Belts, surrounding Earth were discovered in 1958. In 2012, observations from the Van Allen Probes showed that a third belt can sometimes appear.

    Van Allen Probes Discover a Surprise Circling Earth

    02.28.13 - Shortly after the Van Allen Probes launched to study the radiation belts around Earth, they saw something no one had ever seen before: a new configuration, showing an extra, third belt extending out into space.

  • A cutaway model of the radiation belts with the 2 Van Allen Probes satellites flying through them.

    Van Allen Probes Discover a New Radiation Belt  →

    02.28.13 - Earth's radiation belts were one of the first discoveries of the Space Age. A new finding published in today's issue of Science shows that we still have much to learn about them.

  • One of 20 balloons launched as part of NASA's BARREL mission.

    Twenty NASA Balloons Studying the Radiation Belts

    02.04.13 - Just 96 days since launch, the Van Allen Probes have already provided new insights into the structure and behavior of the radiation belts that surround Earth.

  • Artist's rendition of RBSP in orbit.

    Van Allen Probes Reveal New Dynamics of Radiation Belts

    12.05.12 - Just 96 days since launch, the Van Allen Probes have already provided new insights into the structure and behavior of the radiation belts that surround Earth.

  • Artist's rendition of the Van Allen Probes in orbit around Earth.

    Honoring the Origins of Magnetospheric Science

    11.09.12 - On Nov. 9, 2012, NASA announced that to honor the scientist who helped launch the field of magnetospheric science, the Radiation Belt Storm Probes will be renamed the Van Allen Probes.

  • Artist's depiction of the SAMPEX satellite

    SAMPEX: A Space Weather Warrior

    11.01.12 - NASA's first small explorer, SAMPEX, has studied the zoo of particles and cosmic rays surrounding Earth since 1992. In early Nov., 2012, the spacecraft's orbit will decay enough that SAMPEX will re-enter Earth's atmosphere.

  • RBSP Mission Operations Center at Johns Hopkins APL

    Hours After Launch, RBSP Takes First Science Steps

    09.12.12 - Immediately after launch, RBSP entered a 60-day commissioning phase of operations, where all of the spacecrafts’ systems and instruments are activated, monitored, and made ready for the two-year primary science mission.

  • RBSP spacecraft with EMFISIS instruments labeled.

    New 'Chorus' Recording By RBSP's EMFISIS Instrument

    09.13.12 - Radio waves, recorded by RBSP's EMFISIS instrument, are at frequencies that are audible to the human ear and are emitted by the energetic particles in the Earth’s magnetosphere.

  • Photo of the RBSP's REPT instrument prior to installation on spacecraft B.

    New RBSP Instrument Telemetry Provides 'Textbook' Excitement

    09.12.12 - Just three days after launch, live data of the particles in the Van Allen radiation belts from the two RBSP spacecraft, provides full science data right out of the box.

  • RBSP launches successfully at 4:05am EDT.

    RBSP Launches - Twin Probes in Orbit

    08.30.12 - NASA's Radiation Belt Storm Probes are flying in Earth orbit after a successful liftoff this morning. The spacecraft are now at home in the Van Allen belts.

  • Technicians prepare the RBSP spacecraft for encapsulation in the payload fairing

    Twin Probes to Study Radiation Belts

    08.20.12 - Radiation Belt Storm Probes will study Earth's ever-changing radiation belts in greater detail than ever before.

  • Graphic of the Van Allen Radiation Belts that surround Earth.

    Electric Atmosphere: Plasma Is Next NASA Science Target

    07.18.12 - Two giant donuts of radiation surround Earth, trapped in a region known as the Van Allen Radiation Belts. NASA's RBSP mission will study the material, called plasma, in this mysterious region.

  • Several BARREL payloads are built all at the same time.

    Building 45 Payloads for Balloon Mission

    05.29.12 - Dartmouth scientists are building 45 payloads--each destined for a trip on a balloon around Antarctica as part of NASA'S BARREL mission.

  • NASA's twin Radiation Belt Storm Probe spacecraft, in protective shipping containers, are unloaded from a United States Air Force C-17 at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. on May 1, 2012.

    RBSP Arrives at Kennedy Space Center

    05.02.12 - NASA's twin Radiation Belt Storm Probes arrived May 1, 2012 at the KSC, where launch is scheduled for an August to begin their mission to study the extremes of space weather.

  • Animation of Earth's radiation belts following the Halloween Storm of 2003 shows them swelling and shrinking over time.

    THEMIS Sees a Great Electron Escape

    01.30.12 - Filled with electrons and charged particles, the radiation belts regularly swell and shrink, but no one is quite sure how. A new study sheds light on how those radiation particles escape.

  • Engineers at JHUAPL inspect Radiation Belt Storm Probe A in the clean room.

    RBSP - Mission Status

    08.15.11 - What were once bare black octagonal boxes are now recognizable as full-fledged spacecraft, each laden with propulsion systems, power and avionics systems. NASA has approved a new launch readiness date of August 15, 2012.

  • The two RBSP spacecraft will help study the Van Allen Radiation belts that surround Earth.

    Launching Balloons in Antarctica

    02.22.11 - A successful test launch in Antarctica for BARREL (Balloon Array for RBSP Relativistic Electron Losses) shows how it will will work hand in hand with the Radiation Belt Space Probes mission.

  • Artist's rendering showing two spacecraft representing the not-yet-designed Radiation Belt Storm Probes

    Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP)

  • The CREAM balloon launches from Antarctica.

    NASA-NSF Scientific Balloon Launches from Antarctica

    12.21.10 - NASA and the National Science Foundation launched Monday a scientific balloon to study the effects of cosmic rays on Earth. The launch is one of five scientific balloons scheduled to launch from Antarctica in December.

  • Artist's concept of THEMIS orbits and nightside magnetic field

    "Singing" Electrons Protect and Threaten TV and GPS

    05.07.09 - Electrons – the particles that carry electricity – can both protect and disrupt your satellite TV or GPS navigator with a "song".