The Van Allen Probes (formerly the Radiation Belt Storm Probes, RBSP) will explore the Van Allen Radiation Belts in the Earth's magnetosphere. The charged particles in these regions can be hazardous to both spacecraft and astronauts. Project Scientist Dr. David Sibeck explains the how the mission will explore space weather — changes in Earth's space environment caused by the sun — that can disable satellites, create power grid failures and disrupt GPS service. The mission also will allow researchers to understand fundamental radiation and particle acceleration processes throughout the universe.
The 2-year mission launched Thursday, Aug. 23 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The twin probes lifted off on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 188.8.131.52.0