The July 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

Pair of Probes to Visit Van Allen Belts

Twin spacecraft will help predict space-weather effects on satellites

4 min read
An artists impression of the Radiation Belt Storm Probes mission in orbit
Photo: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/NASA

UPDATE: 27 August 2012: 2:00 p.m. A problem communicating with a transponder mounted in the Atlas V rocket prevented a launch on Friday. Subsequent bad weather, including the arrival of Tropical Storm Isaac, has pushed the launch date back to no earlier than 30 August.

22 August 2012—In the wee hours of the morning of 24 August, NASA and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) plan to launch a pair of research probes into the most hostile region of space around Earth: the Van Allen belts. The ultimate result should be longer–lasting satellites and safer tours of duty for astronauts.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

Top Tech 2022: A Special Report

Preview two dozen exciting technical developments that are in the pipeline for the coming year

1 min read
Photo of the lower part of a rocket in an engineering bay.

NASA’s Space Launch System will carry Orion to the moon.

Frank Michaux/NASA

At the start of each year, IEEE Spectrum attempts to predict the future. It can be tricky, but we do our best, filling the January issue with a couple of dozen reports, short and long, about developments the editors expect to make news in the coming year.

This isn’t hard to do when the project has been in the works for a long time and is progressing on schedule—the coming first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System, for example. For other stories, we must go farther out on a limb. A case in point: the description of a hardware wallet for Bitcoin that the company formerly known as Square (which recently changed its name to Block) is developing but won’t officially comment on. One thing we can predict with confidence, though, is that Spectrum readers, familiar with the vicissitudes of technical development work, will understand if some of these projects don’t, in fact, pan out. That’s still okay.

Engineering, like life, is as much about the journey as the destination.

See all stories from our Top Tech 2022 Special Report

Keep Reading ↓Show less