, Volume 179, Issue 1-4, pp 221-261,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 30 Aug 2012

The Relativistic Proton Spectrometer (RPS) for the Radiation Belt Storm Probes Mission

Abstract

The Relativistic Proton Spectrometer (RPS) on the Radiation Belt Storm Probes spacecraft is a particle spectrometer designed to measure the flux, angular distribution, and energy spectrum of protons from ∼60 MeV to ∼2000 MeV. RPS will investigate decades-old questions about the inner Van Allen belt proton environment: a nearby region of space that is relatively unexplored because of the hazards of spacecraft operation there and the difficulties in obtaining accurate proton measurements in an intense penetrating background. RPS is designed to provide the accuracy needed to answer questions about the sources and losses of the inner belt protons and to obtain the measurements required for the next-generation models of trapped protons in the magnetosphere. In addition to detailed information for individual protons, RPS features count rates at a 1-second timescale, internal radiation dosimetry, and information about electrostatic discharge events on the RBSP spacecraft that together will provide new information about space environmental hazards in the Earth’s magnetosphere.