NASA's DC-8 makes a low approach to Edwards Air Force Base. Credits: NASA Photo / Carla Thomas

DC-8 Reaches Milestone

NASA's DC-8 Flying Laboratory recently reached its third decade of delivering groundbreaking science.

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Airborne surveys of southern Alaska have helped scientists get a better handle on where ice is being lost from this heavily glaciated region. Melting ice from Alaskan glaciers is estimated to be one of the main contributors to global sea level rise.

Alaska's Biggest (Ice) Losers are Inland

Airborne surveys of southern Alaska have helped scientists get a better handle on where ice is being lost from this heavily glaciated region.

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NASA Takes to Kansas Skies to Study Nighttime Thunderstorms

NASA has joined a multi-agency field campaign studying summer storm systems in the U.S. Great Plains to find out why they often form after the sun goe...

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Students learn about the MASTER remote sensing instrument onboard the NASA DC-8

Students Study Earth from NASA Flying Laboratory

Thirty-two undergraduate students are participating in an eight-week NASA Airborne Science field experience designed to immerse them in the agency's E...

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View through the cockpit window during an IceBridge flight. Credits: NASA/IceBridge

Operation IceBridge Concludes 2015 Arctic Campaign

Operation IceBridge wrapped up its seventh Arctic deployment on May 21, when NASA’s C-130 research aircraft with the mission’s researchers and ins...

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Antarctica's Larsen B Ice Shelf is likely to shatter into hundreds of icebergs before the end of the decade, according to a new NASA study. Credits: NSIDC/Ted Scambos

NASA Study Shows Antarctica’s Larsen B Ice Shelf Nearing Its...

A new NASA study finds the last remaining section of Antarctica's Larsen B Ice Shelf, which partially collapsed in 2002, is quickly weakening and like...

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NASA's DC-8 aircraft takes off from its base operations in Palmdale, California on a mission aimed at studying polar winds in the Arctic region. Credits: NASA Photo / Carla Thomas

NASA Airborne Mission to Study Polar Winds

NASA’s DC-8 aircraft began a series of science flights based out of Keflavik, Iceland, on May 11 aimed at studying Arctic polar winds.

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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.