International Editorial, Aug 30 (EFE). – The U.S. space agency (NASA) launched today from Cape Canaveral (Florida) Atlas V rocket to be put into orbit two spacecraft to study the Sun’s influence on Earth and the radiation belts that surround it.
The launch took place at 08.05 GMT after several delays due to technical problems and bad weather in the area because of the proximity of Tropical Storm “Isaac”.
The booster rocket used and discarded its segments to take an hour and 31 minutes after takeoff, the two probes into orbit.
The mission “Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP)” aims to study the Van Allen belts, two giant plasma rings that surround the Earth and are concentrated electrified particles which make up 99 percent of the universe, beyond the Earth’s protective atmosphere.
With this, the scientists want to better understand space weather near Earth and protect human and electronic systems of geomagnetic storms, but also study the plasma, an environment so different from ours that is considered crucial for understanding the composition of every star and galaxy, according to NASA.
These rings are toroidal surface areas in which protons and electrons flow, spiral and lot, between the magnetic poles of the Earth.
The inner Van Allen Belt extends from about 1,000 kilometers above the Earth’s surface to beyond 5,000 kilometers, and externally between 15,000 and 20,000 kilometers.
The probes are designed to analyze how the sun, in particular solar storms affect the Earth’s environment at various scales of space and time, and must operate in difficult conditions.
Other satellites orbiting in the region are scheduled to shut down their systems or protected when intense solar storms occur, but this mission will continue collecting information and therefore are built to withstand the bombardment of particles and radiation in the Van Allen belts .
The mission is part of the “Living with a Star”, whose goal is the study of the fundamental processes that may have caused the Sun and that affect the entire solar system.
Probes instruments provide measurements that scientists need to understand not only the origin of electrified particles, but also the mechanisms that give these particles their speed and energy.
The two probes have almost identical eccentric orbits, covering the entire region of the radiation belts, and satellites will cross several times in the course of their duties.
Its form is octagonal, weigh more than 635 pounds each and measure 1.85 meters wide, with about 90 centimeters tall.