The Evolving Space Weather System - Van Allen Probes Contribution
The overarching goal and purpose of the study of space weather is clear - to understand and address the issues caused by solar disturbances on humans and technological systems. Space weather has evolved in the past few decades from a collection of concerned agencies and researchers to a critical function of the National Weather Service of NOAA. The general effects have also evolved from the well-known telegraph disruptions of the mid-1800\textquoterights to modern day disturbances of the electric power grid, communications and navigation, human spaceflight and spacecraft systems. The last two items in this list, and specifically the effects of penetrating radiation, were the impetus for the space weather broadcast implemented on NASA\textquoterights Van Allen Probes\textquoteright twin pair of satellites, launched in August of 2012 and orbiting directly through Earth\textquoterights severe radiation belts. The Van Allen Probes mission, formerly the Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP, http://vanallenprobes.jhuapl.edu), were renamed soon after launch to honor the discoverer of Earth\textquoterights radiation belts at the beginning of the space age, the late James Van Allen (the spacecraft themselves are still referred to as RBSP-A and RBSP-B). The Van Allen Probes (Mauk et al., 2012 and other team contributions in the same special issue of Space Science Reviews, 2012) are one part of NASA\textquoterights Living With a Star (LWS, http://lws.gsfc.nasa.gov) program formulated to advance the scientific understanding of the connection between solar disturbances, the resulting heliospheric conditions and their effects on the geospace and Earth environment.
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