The launch of NASA’s Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP) mission finally took place from Cape Canaveral using an Atlas V 401 rocket on 30 August 2012 at 0805 GMT. The launch had been delayed for five days by the onset of Tropical Storm Isaac (which later strengthened to hurricane force). Earlier the launch had been delayed for extra engine checks and by a tracking beakon issue.
Radiation Belt Storm Probe (one of two): Courtesy: NASA
The mission consists of twin spin stabilised spacecraft which will will fly into a highly elliptical orbit (close in nature to a geosynchronous transfer orbit). As the craft fly through the Van Allen belts the insruments aboard the spacecraft will investigate the nature of charged particle acceleration in these bandsd and the effect that solar/geogmagnetic storms have on this. The primary mission is designed to last two years.