Storm stalls radiation study launch

22:39, Aug 26 2012
Nasa rocket
DELAYED: The Nasa rocket to carry radiation belt storm probes into space is next scheduled to launch Thursday.

Nasa's effort to launch a pair of satellites to Earth's radiation belts is delayed until late this week because of tropical storm Isaac.

The countdown was halted at the four-minute mark on Saturday — for the second time in as many days.

Thunderstorms prevented the unmanned rocket from blasting off with Nasa's Radiation Belt Storm Probes.

On Friday, a tracking beacon on the rocket held up the flight.

Nasa initially said it would try again Sunday, but with Isaac bearing toward Florida, launch managers decided to move the Atlas V rocket back into its hangar and sit tight until the storm passed. They're now aiming for a Thursday launch.

The twin satellites are designed to study Earth's harsh radiation belts.

Scientists say the two-year, US$686 million mission will improve space forecasting; the goal is to better guard against solar storms.

Spacecraft can be damaged, and astronauts hurt, from severe solar outbursts. Life here on the planet also can be disrupted.

Advertisement

AP