NASA's C-130H Hercules airborne laboratory spins down it's engines in St. John's, Newfoundland, after a 10-hour flight over the North Atlantic. Credits: NASA/Rich Moore

NASA Study to Look at the Immense Influence of Petite Plankton

The North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study (NAAMES) is an interdisciplinary investigation resolving key processes controlling marine ecos...

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NASA Heads to Pacific Northwest for Field Campaign to Measure...

From Nov. 10 through Dec. 21, NASA and university scientists are taking to the field to study wet winter weather near Seattle, Washington. With weathe...

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NASA’s C-130H Hercules airborne laboratory begins research flights over the North Atlantic Nov. 12 from St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, the agency's North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study (NAAMES).

NASA to Fly, Sail North to Study Plankton-Climate Change...

NASA begins a five-year study this month of the annual cycle of phytoplankton and the impact that small airborne particles emitted from the ocean have...

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Setting of the La Habra quake. Red dots show the magnitude 5.1 main shock, magnitude 4.1 aftershock and magnitude 5.4 Chino quake in 2008. Relocated aftershocks are green dots. Modeled faults are in brown, with the heavier reddish brown line denoting the bottom of the fault and labeled with italics. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA Study Improves Understanding of LA Quake Risks

A new NASA-led analysis of a moderate magnitude 5.1 earthquake that shook Greater Los Angeles in 2014 finds that the earthquake deformed Earth's crust...

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Tour NASA's Extreme Weather Research Work

Social media users are invited to apply for media credentials to go inside NASA's DC-8 flying laboratory Nov. 11 at the University of Washington in Se...

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NASA Global Hawk

New Video Highlights 3 Years of NASA Hurricane Research

NASA's Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel, or HS3, mission investigated tropical cyclones in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 Atlantic Basin hurricane seasons...

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Operation IceBridge’s planned flight lines over Arctic and Antarctic land and sea ice in Sept-Nov. 2015.

NASA to Fly Parallel Science Campaigns at Both Poles

For the first time in its seven years of flights, NASA's Operation IceBridge, an airborne survey of changes in Earth’s polar ice, is conducting over...

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About the Airborne Science Program

The Airborne Science Program within the Earth Science Division is responsible for providing aircraft systems that further science and advance the use of satellite data. The primary objectives of this program are to:

  • Satellite Calibration and Validation
  • Provide platforms to enable essential calibration measurements for the Earth observing satellites, and the validation of data retrieval algorithms.

  • Support New Sensor Development
  • Provide sub-orbital flight opportunities to test and refine new instrument technologies/algorithms, and reduce risk prior to committing sensors for launch into space.

  • Process Studies
  • Obtain high-resolution temporal and spatial measurements of complex local processes, which can be coupled to global satellite observations for a better understanding of the complete Earth system.

  • Develop the Next-Generation of Scientists and Engineers
  • Foster the development of our future workforce with the hands-on involvement of graduate students, and young scientists/engineers in all aspects of ongoing Earth science investigations.

    To meet these observing objectives ASP maintains and operates a suite of sustained, ongoing platforms and sensors on which investigators can rely from year to year. From these known capabilities the Science Mission Directorate can develop observing strategies. However, an ongoing capability will be resource-constrained and eventually technology-constrained, so that not all observing requirements will be met with the limited core capability. Therefore the program facilitates access to other platforms or sensors on a funds-available, as-needed basis, to accommodate unique and/or occasional requirements. The Program also looks for new or evolving technologies to demonstrate their applicability for Earth science. Depending on the success of the demonstrations and the observing needs, the core capability is expected to evolve and change over time. The speed and extent of change will be balanced against the need for established, known capabilities for long-term planning.