The ER-2 crew makes final adjustments on the ground in Keflavik, Iceland as the pilot and aircraft prepare for take off. Credits: NASA Photo / Brian Hobbs

NASA ER-2 Completes Suomi-NPP Arctic Validation Mission

NASA’s high-altitude ER-2 aircraft completed a series of validation flights last month in support of the Earth-observing NASA/NOAA Suomi National Po...

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The Norwegian research vessel R/V Lance as captured by the Digital Mapping System during an Operation IceBridge flight on March 19, 2015. IceBridge flew over a survey field established by a science team aboard the Lance as part of the airborne mission's Arctic 2015 campaign.

IceBridge Overflies Norwegian Camp On Drifting Sea Ice

Operation IceBridge successfully overflew a drifting Norwegian research vessel locked into the sea ice in the Fram Strait during its first flight of t...

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NASA's C-130 aircraft getting readied for pressurization tests on March 16, 2015 at Wallops Flight Facility, during preparation for the Arctic 2015 Operation IceBridge field campaign. The mission¹s usual research aircraft in the Arctic, a P-3, is currently getting new wings.

Operation IceBridge Debuts Its Seventh Arctic Campaign

NASA's Operation IceBridge, an airborne survey of polar ice, successfully completed its first Greenland research flight of 2015 on March 19, thus laun...

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East Antarctic coastline. Icebergs are highlighted by the sunlight, and the open ocean appears black. Image Credit:  NASA

UTexas-NASA Study Sees New Threat to East Antarctic Ice

Researchers have discovered two seafloor troughs that could allow warm ocean water to reach the base of Totten Glacier, East Antarctica's largest and ...

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NASA’s Global Hawk aircraft takes off from its base operations in Edwards, California to fly near the equator over the Pacific Ocean in the tropical tropopause layer.

NASA and Partners begin 2015 CAST ATTREX Mission

NASA scientists will study the movement of water vapor and greenhouse gases in the tropical tropopause region during this year's CAST ATTREX Mission

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A sixth grade class at Central Elementary School in Tioga, North Dakota participated in NASA's 2014 Operation Ice Bridge Mission using the Mission Tool Suite for Education (MTSE) website.

NASA Brings the Spirit of Adventure into the Classroom

Across the United States and around the world, students now can participate in deployed NASA Airborne Science Missions.

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NASA's ER-2 research aircraft.

NASA Aircraft, Spacecraft Aid Atmospheric River Study

NASA is part of a major field campaign studying intense atmospheric river storms from the ocean, land, air and space.

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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.