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Waves, Particles, and Storms in GeospaceA Complex Interplay$
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Georgios Balasis, Ioannis A. Daglis, and Ian R. Mann

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198705246

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198705246.001.0001

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An Overview of Early Results from the Radiation Belt Storm Probes Energetic Particle, Composition, and Thermal Plasma Suite on NASA’s Van Allen Probes Mission

An Overview of Early Results from the Radiation Belt Storm Probes Energetic Particle, Composition, and Thermal Plasma Suite on NASA’s Van Allen Probes Mission

Chapter:
(p.425) 17 An Overview of Early Results from the Radiation Belt Storm Probes Energetic Particle, Composition, and Thermal Plasma Suite on NASA’s Van Allen Probes Mission
Source:
Waves, Particles, and Storms in Geospace
Author(s):

Harlan E. Spence

Geoff D. Reeves

Ramona Kessel

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198705246.003.0018

NASA’s Van Allen Probes began its two-year prime science mission phase following its launch into the inner magnetosphere in August 2012. Designed to study and understand radiation belt structure and dynamics “ideally to the point of predictability,” the dual-spacecraft Van Allen Probes mission comprises a comprehensive suite of charged particle and fields measurements needed to achieve closure on critical science questions. The Radiation Belt Storm Probes-Energetic Particle, Composition, and Thermal Plasma (RBSP-ECT) suite consists of three primary instrument types that collectively provide clean, robust measurements of the electrons and key ions in the inner magnetosphere, with high energy spectral and pitch angle resolution, spanning energy ranges covering the cold/warm plasmasphere populations, the hot ring current populations, the medium-energy electron “seed” population, as well as the core relativistic and ultra-relativistic radiation belt populations. In this paper, we provide a high-level summary of the major science accomplishments from approximately the first year of operations of the RBSP-ECT instrument suite. We demonstrate that at the time of this writing, representing approximately half of the prime science mission phase, the Van Allen Probes science team has already met important mission objectives and achieved mission science goals, with results that not only resolve long-standing controversial questions using definitive RBSP-ECT measurements but also reveal fundamental features about the radiation belt that have heretofore gone undiscovered despite 50+ years of prior missions and study.

Keywords:   radiation belt, energetic particle, Van Allen Probes, RBSP-ECT, inner magnetosphere

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