NASA's twin Radiation Belt Storm Probes, enclosed in protective shipping containers, depart from the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard a flatbed truck. The spacecraft were delivered in the cargo bay of a U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft earlier in the day and are on their way to the Astrotech payload processing facility near Kennedy Space Center where Applied Physics Laboratory technicians will begin spacecraft testing and prelaunch preparations.
The RBSP mission will help us understand the sun’s influence on Earth and near-Earth space by studying the Earth’s radiation belts on various scales of space and time. The RBSP instruments will provide the measurements needed to characterize and quantify the plasma processes that produce very energetic ions and relativistic electrons. The mission is part of NASA’s broader Living With a Star Program that was conceived to explore fundamental processes that operate throughout the solar system, and in particular those that generate hazardous space weather effects in the vicinity of Earth and phenomena that could impact solar system exploration. RBSP is scheduled to begin its mission of exploration of Earth's Van Allen Radiation Belts and the extremes of space weather after launch. Launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is scheduled for August 23. For more information, visit http://www.nasa.gov/rbsp. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett