The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying NASA's Radiation Belt Storm Probes, or RBSP, lifted off Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 4:05 a.m. EDT.
RBSP will explore changes in Earth's space environment caused by the sun -- known as "space weather" -- that can disable satellites, create power-grid failures and disrupt GPS service. The mission also will provide data on the fundamental radiation and particle acceleration processes throughout the universe. For more information on RBSP, visit http://www.nasa.gov/rbsp. Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray and Robert Murray