Radiation Probes Launch Moves To Thursday

By  //  August 25, 2012

MIssion To Study Solar Effects And Radiation

BREVARD COUNTY • CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – Stormy weather has forced the delay in launching an Atlas V rocket this morning carrying twin probes on a mission to study solar radiation and the earth’s magnetic field.  

The Radiation Belt Storm Probes mission will study radiation fields surrounding the Earth like this artist's depiction of the Van Allen Belt. (Image courtesy NASA)

The rocket launch is now planned for 4:05 a.m. Saturday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Several problems with beacon signals scrubbed a planned Friday launch before today’s postponement because of weather.

NASA’s Radiation Belt Storm Probes mission will give scientists a greater understanding of the Earth’s radiation belts.

Instruments aboard each of he probes will measure composition of charged particles that make Earth’s radiation belts, how plasma waves interact with the belts, electric fields surrounding the planet and Earth’s particle-guiding magnetic field.

Once in orbit, the probes will have close eccentric orbits spanning the entire radiation belt area.

The twin spacecraft will actually lap over each other a number of times during the mission.