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March 26, 2019

Orbiting in the Danger Zone: Behind the Scenes of the Van Allen Probes' Final Maneuver

The Van Allen Probes have spent more than six years exploring the harshest environment of near-Earth space: the radiation belts. This is an intense region of charged particles trapped in Earth's magnetic field that can interfere with satellite electronics and could even pose a threat to astronauts who pass through them on interplanetary journeys.

On March 22, the mission team performed the final adjustment to the orbits of the twin spacecraft to ensure that they will eventually de-orbit and disintegrate in Earth's atmosphere. In this video – hosted by Johns Hopkins APL's Mike Buckley, with Project Manager Nelli Mosavi and Project Scientist Sasha Ukhorskiy (both of APL), as well as NASA's Geospace Mission Scientist David Sibeck – we provide a look inside mission control at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory as the Van Allen Probes perform the final orbital maneuver of their mission. NASA and APL experts answered questions about the mission, and discussed what we've learned - and what we hope to discover - as a result of the Van Allen Probes' final phase of exploration.

Get a look inside mission control at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory as the Van Allen Probes perform the final orbital maneuver of their mission
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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