We report an accurate measurement of the geomagnetically trapped proton fluxes for kinetic energy above ~70 MeV performed by the PAMELA mission at low Earth orbits (350 ÷ 610 km). Data were analyzed in the frame of the adiabatic theory of charged particle motion in the geomagnetic field. Flux properties were investigated in detail, providing a full characterization of the particle radiation in the South Atlantic Anomaly region, including locations, energy spectra, and pitch angle distributions. PAMELA results significantly improve the description of the Earth's radiation environment at low altitudes, placing important constraints on the trapping and interaction processes, and can be used to validate current trapped particle radiation models.
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