Twin space probe design phase begins

The U.S. space agency said design has started on its radiation storm probes -- twin spacecraft that will be launched into the Earth's radiation belts.

Researchers said the National Aeronautics and Space Administration spacecraft are being designed to provide insight into the physical dynamics of near-Earth space, where violent space weather can affect astronauts, satellites and even ground-based technologies.

Researchers and engineers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., will build and operate the twin probes, which are scheduled for a 2011 launch and a primary mission of two years.

The radiation belts are two doughnut-shaped regions encircling Earth, where high-energy particles are trapped by the planet's magnetic field, scientists said. Most Earth-orbiting spacecraft pass through the belts, which can affect both astronauts and spacecraft.

Scientists hope the space mission will resolve decades-old scientific mysteries of how such particles become energized to such high levels and how the radiation belts vary so dramatically with changing conditions on the sun.

The instruments will be provided by teams managed by Boston University, the University of Iowa, the University of Minnesota, the New Jersey Institute of Technology and the National Reconnaissance Office.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International


Explore further

New space weather advisories serve aviation

Citation: Twin space probe design phase begins (2008, April 21) retrieved 24 February 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2008-04-twin-space-probe-phase.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
0 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments