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For Immediate Release

August 10, 2012

Media Contact:

Geoffrey Brown, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
(443) 778-5618

George H. Diller, NASA Kennedy Space Center

J.D. Harrington, NASA Headquarters

NASA Sets Radiation Belt Storm Probes Launch Events Coverage

NASA’s Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP) — built by The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory — are set to launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket Aug. 23. The 20-minute launch window for the twin probes at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 begins at 4:08 a.m. EDT.

Launch commentary coverage, as well as prelaunch media briefings, will be carried live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

RBSP 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.

Prelaunch News Conference: A prelaunch news conference on NASA TV will be held at NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Press Site at 1 p.m., Monday, Aug. 20. Briefing participants are:

  • Michael Luther, deputy associate administrator for programs, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington
  • Tim Dunn, NASA launch director, Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
  • Vernon Thorp, program manager, NASA Missions United Launch Alliance, Denver, Colo.
  • Richard Fitzgerald, RBSP project manager, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.
  • Kathy Winters, launch weather officer, 45th Weather Squadron, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

RBSP Mission Science Briefing

Immediately following the prelaunch news conference, an RBSP mission science briefing will be held and carried on NASA TV. Briefing participants are:

  • Mona Kessel, RBSP program scientist, NASA Headquarters, Washington
  • Nicola Fox, RBSP deputy project scientist, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory
  • Craig Kletzing, principal investigator, University of Iowa, Electric and Magnetic Field Instrument Suite and Integrated Science Instrument
  • Harlan Spence, principal investigator, University of New Hampshire, Energetic Particle, Composition, and Thermal Plasma Suite Instrument
  • Lou Lanzerotti, principal investigator, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Radiation Belt Storm Probes Ion Composition Experiment

The science briefing is scheduled to conclude by 3 p.m.

A post-launch news conference also will be held approximately 2 1/2 hours after launch on Aug. 23.

Accreditation and Media Access Badges for Kennedy Space Center

U.S. media who want to cover the RBSP prelaunch news conference, mission science briefing and the launch must apply for credentials at

Accreditation for U.S. media must be received by 4 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 16. Media may obtain their mission badges at the Press Accreditation Building (PIDS) on State Road 3, Merritt Island. Two forms of government-issued identification, one with a photo, will be required in order to receive a badge to cover the prelaunch news conference, the Atlas V launch vehicle rollout to the pad and the launch. For further information about accreditation, contact Jennifer Horner at 321-867-6598 or 867-2468. The deadline for international media to apply for launch accreditation has passed.

Atlas V Launch Vehicle Rollout

On Tuesday, Aug. 21, there will be a media opportunity to observe rollout of the Atlas V rocket from the Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad. Media should be at Kennedy’s Press Site at 9 a.m. for transportation to the viewing location near Space Launch Complex 41.

Remote Camera Placement at Space Launch Complex 41

On Tuesday, Aug. 21, photographers who wish to set up remote sound-activated cameras at the Atlas V launch pad will be transported to Space Launch Complex 41. Media should meet in the Kennedy Press Site parking lot at 1:30 p.m. Media also should plan to use a timer that can be set for more than 24 hours. Only news media representatives establishing a remote camera at the pad will be permitted for this activity.

Launch Day Press Site Access

On Thursday, Aug. 23, media will cover the RBSP launch from Kennedy’s Press Site. Access will be through Gate 3 on State Road 405, east of the Kennedy Visitor complex beginning at 12:30 a.m.

Kennedy News Center Hours

Monday, Aug. 20: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 21: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 22: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 23: 12:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

NASA Television Coverage

On Monday, Aug. 20, NASA Television will carry the RBSP prelaunch news conference and mission science briefing live beginning at 1 p.m.

On Thursday, Aug. 23, NASA Television coverage of the launch will begin at 1:30 a.m. and conclude after the second of the two RBSP spacecraft has separated from the Atlas V, which occurs 91 minutes and six seconds after launch. Live launch coverage will be carried on all NASA Television channels.

A post-launch news conference will be held at Kennedy’s Press Site approximately 2 1/2 hours after launch. A post-launch news release also will be issued as soon as the state-of-health of the RBSP spacecraft is known. Spokespersons also will be available at the press site to answer questions.

For NASA Television downlink information, schedule information and streaming video, visit

Audio only of the press conferences and the launch coverage will be carried on the NASA “V” circuits, which may be accessed by dialing 321-867-1220 or -1240 or -1260 or -7135. On launch day, “mission audio,” the launch conductor’s countdown activities without NASA TV launch commentary, will be carried on 321-867-7135 starting at 1 a.m. Launch also will be available on local amateur VHF radio frequency 146.940 MHz heard within Brevard County, Fla.

NASA Web Prelaunch and Launch Coverage

Extensive prelaunch and launch-day coverage of the liftoff of the RBSP spacecraft aboard an Atlas V rocket will be available on NASA’s home page on the Internet at

A prelaunch webcast for the RBSP mission will be streamed on NASA’s website at noon on Wednesday, Aug. 22. Live countdown coverage through NASA’s Launch Blog begins at 1:30 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 23. Coverage features live updates as countdown milestones occur, as well as streaming video clips highlighting launch preparations and liftoff. For questions about countdown coverage, contact Jeanne Ryba at 321-867-7824.

To view the webcast and the blog or to learn more about the RBSP mission, visit

Social Media

Join the conversation online by using the #RBSP hashtag or by following RBSP on Twitter at @RBStormProbes or on Facebook at

Throughout the launch countdown, the @RBStormProbes and @NASAKennedy Twitter feeds will be continuously updated with the latest mission updates and news.

Recorded Status

Recorded status reports and updates to the media advisory on the RBSP launch will be provided through the Kennedy media phone line starting Monday, Aug. 20. The telephone number is 321-867-2525.

RBSP is part of NASA’s Living With a Star program, which is managed by the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., built the pair of RBSP spacecraft and manages the mission for NASA. NASA’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy is responsible for launch management. United Launch Alliance is the provider of the Atlas V launch service.

The Applied Physics Laboratory, a not-for-profit division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For more information, visit

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