Press Release

NASA Offers News Media Access to Twin RBSP Spacecraft

By SpaceRef Editor
July 30, 2012
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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA’s Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP), set to launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on Aug. 23, will be the focus of a media opportunity at 10 a.m. EDT Thursday, Aug. 2, at the Astrotech Space Operations facility in Titusville, Fla. Media will be able to photograph the RBSP spacecraft and interview project and launch program officials. The spacecraft will be seen just prior to encapsulation into the payload fairing of the Atlas V-401 launch vehicle.

The two-year RBSP mission will help scientists develop an understanding of Earth’s Van Allen radiation belts and related regions that pose hazards to human and robotic explorers. RBSP will use twin probes to 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.

Spokespersons from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) and the NASA Launch Services Program (LSP) will be available for questions and interviews. APL participants will be Dr. Nicky Fox, deputy project scientist; Jim Stratton, mission systems engineer; and Kim Cooper, deputy project manager for instruments. LSP’s representative will be Rex Engelhardt, RBSP mission manager at Kennedy Space Center.

Procedures for magnetically sensitive spacecraft must be followed by media entering the cleanroom where the spacecraft are being prepared for launch. Full cleanroom attire (bunny suits) must be worn and will be furnished. Media should not wear perfume, cologne or makeup. Long pants and closed-toe shoes must be worn – no shorts or skirts.

Camera equipment will be cleaned prior to cleanroom entry by contamination-control specialists from APL. All camera equipment must be self-contained and no portable lights will be allowed. Non-essential equipment such as suede, leather or vinyl camera bags or other carrying cases must be left outside the cleanroom. Cleanroom paper and non-retractable ballpoint pens will be provided. No notebook paper, pencils or retractable pens can be permitted. No food, tobacco, chewing gum, lighters, matches or pocketknives will be allowed.

Flash photography will be permitted; however, there also is adequate metal halide lighting in the facility for pictures (white with slight green cast; suggested exposure for ISO-ASA 400 is 1/30 sec. at f/5.6). Wireless microphones also will be permitted to be used for this event; however, cellular telephones are not allowed inside the cleanroom. Also, because both of the RBSP spacecraft are magnetically sensitive, magnets or devices containing magnets may not be brought in. All equipment will be scanned for magnetic potential prior to entry.

On Thursday, Aug. 2, U.S. news media representatives may proceed directly to Astrotech located in the Spaceport Florida Industrial Park, 1515 Chaffee Drive, Titusville. Access will be available starting at 9:45 a.m. and the event will begin at 10 a.m. News media identification and a government photo identification such as a driver’s license or passport will be required. News media who are foreign nationals may attend only if they possess a permanently issued NASA news media accreditation badge from the Kennedy Space Center, not a temporary badge.

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 will manage the mission for NASA. The Launch Services Program at Kennedy is responsible for the launch management. United Launch Alliance is the provider of the Atlas V launch service.

Media representatives should call the NASA Kennedy News Center codaphone (321-867-2525) on Wednesday evening to assure that the event is on schedule.

For more information about RBSP, visit:

For more information about Kennedy Space Center, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.