- Japan’s Epsilon rocket conducted its second flight Tuesday, orbiting JAXA’s ERG satellite to study Earth’s radiation belts.
- It is a solid fueled rocket launched by Japan to study radiation belts around earth.
- This function will be performed by the payload i.e. satellite – Exploration of energization and Radiation in Geospace (ERG) satellite.
- The satellite is aimed to study earth’s Van Allen Radiation Belt and for that purpose the orbit of the satellite had to be very elliptical.
- Keeping in mind this requirement the satellite will have a perigee of 350 kilometers and apogee of 30,000 kilometers.
- The ERG satellite carries instruments dedicated to the study of plasma, particles, waves and fields in Earth’s radiation belts.
- Earth’s radiation belts were discovered by James Van Allen’s experiments aboard the first US satellite, Explorer 1, in 1958 although their existence had previously been theorized by other scientists. As a result, the belts are known as the Van Allen belts.
- Earth has two permanent radiation belts, the inner and outer Van Allen belts, although NASA’s Van Allen Probes, or Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP), which were launched in August 2012, showed that a third belt can form and dissipate.