At 4:05 am last night the two Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP), designed to study the Van Allen radiation belts, were successfully placed in orbit by an Atlas 5 rocket.


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At 4:05 am last night the two Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP), designed to study the Van Allen radiation belts, were successfully placed in orbit by an Atlas 5 rocket.

I am sure these two spacecraft will do good research and find out things about the Van Allen radiation belts that we will need to know when humans start traveling through them routinely. However, I must say that their name, the Radiation Belt Storm Probes, usually abbreviated as RBSP, is probably the worst name NASA has ever devised for a spacecraft: Impossible to remember, boring to hear, and completely forgettable. Other than that, it’s a public relations winner.

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