Inside the Astrotech payload processing facility in Titusville, Fla. near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, technicians complete checkouts following encapsulation of the two Radiation Belt Storm Probes, or RBSP, spacecraft with its payload faring. The fairing will house and protect the RBSP during liftoff and flight through the atmosphere aboard an Atlas V rocket.
NASA’s 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. RBSP will begin its mission of exploration of Earth’s Van Allen radiation belts and the extremes of space weather after its liftoff aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Liftoff is targeted for Aug. 23, 2012. For more information, visit http://www.nasa.gov/rbsp. Photo credit: NASA/ Kim Shiflett