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April 25, 2012

In The Loop: New launch date for RBSP

Image for New Launch Date SC-Bsmlr
In this photo from mid-April following the completion of thermal vacuum testing, RBSP spacecraft B is lowered onto a stand, where it was prepared for shipment to the Kennedy Space Center, scheduled for May 1. Spacecraft A, already in its stand, is visible to the left of and behind spacecraft B. Credit: JHU/APL.

As NASA’s twin Radiation Belt Storm Probe spacecraft prepare to leave the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. and journey approximately 750 miles south to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a new launch date has been announced.

Launch is now scheduled for no earlier than Thursday, August 23, 2012, at approximately 4:00 a.m. EDT. The two RBSP spacecraft will be mated and placed aboard a ULA Atlas V 401 rocket and launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station into their orbits around Earth, where they will begin observations following a 60-day commissioning period.

During RBSP’s two year primary mission, the spacecraft will allow scientists to study the Van Allen radiation belts which surround our planet, and learn more about the processes that create them and cause them to vary in size and intensity.

The Radiation Belt Storm Probes mission is part of NASA’s Living With a Star program, which is managed by Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., manages the mission and is building and will operate the RBSP spacecraft for NASA.

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