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Rocket Launches Carrying Radiation Belt Probes


August 30, 2012 | WMFE - An Atlas Five rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral early this morning carrying a pair of satellites that will relay information on the Earth's radiation belts.

The rocket carrying the Radiation Belt Storm Probes launched just after 4:00 am Thursday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

NASA scientists hope information from the $686 million dollar mission will improve their understanding of how the Van Allen radiation belts affect space weather and life on Earth.

Solar storms can disrupt the radiation belts interfering with orbiting satellites. Those satellites are used for military communication, GPS tracking and television and cell phone signals on Earth.

This was NASA’s third try to launch the rocket. A first attempt last Friday was scrubbed due to technical problems. Stormy weather postponed the second attempt on Saturday then Tropical Storm Isaac kept the rocket grounded for several days


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