News

NASA’s P-3 and ER-2 research planes are studying East Coast snowstorms Jan 17-Mar 1, 2020. Credit: NASA Credits: NASA

NASA Snow-Chasers Set to Fly Into East Coast Winter Storms

This month NASA is sending a team of scientists, a host of ground instruments, and two research aircraft to study the inner workings of snowstorms. Th...

Read More:
In 2020 NASA will deploy five new airborne campaigns across the United States to investigate fundamental Earth processes that affect human lives and the environment, from snowstorms along the East Coast to the sinking coastline of the Mississippi River delta. Credit: NASA Credits: NASA

Media Invited to Preview of New NASA Field Campaigns

NASA is inviting members of the media to a behind-the-scenes tour and briefing on five new research campaigns that will take to the field in 2020 to...

Read More:
A photo from the window of NASA's DC-8 shows the rift across the Pine Island Glacier ice shelf running off toward the horizon. The plane flew across the crevasse on Oct. 26, 2011 as part of NASA's Operation IceBridge, and also flew directly over the rift for about 18 miles, taking detailed measurements of its depth, width and shape. The ice shelf hadn't calved a major iceberg since 2001, and IceBridge took advantage of the opportunity afforded by spotting the crack to fly over it and measure its characteris

NASA’s Operation IceBridge Completes Eleven Years of Polar...

For eleven years from 2009 through 2019, the planes of NASA’s Operation IceBridge flew above the Arctic, Antarctic and Alaska, gathering data on t...

Read More:

NASA to Study East Coast Snowstorms from VA. Skies

NASA has announced it will use Wallops Island Flight Facility, just south of Chincoteague Island, as a jumping-off point to study Atlantic snowstorms ...

Read More:
Five new NASA field research campaigns investigating a number of phenomena across the United States get underway this year. Credits: NASA

NASA Embarks on Five U.S. Expeditions Targeting Air, Land and Sea

NASA is sending five airborne campaigns across the United States in 2020 to investigate fundamental processes that ultimately impact human lives and t...

Read More:
Air-LUSI takes off aboard an ER2 out of NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, CA for an airborne campaign to measure the Moon from Nov. 13 – 17, 2019. Credits: NASA Photo / Ken Ulbrich

New Moon-Seeking Sensor Aims to Improve Earth Observations

A new instrument with its eye on the Moon is taking off aboard a high-altitude NASA plane to measure the Moon’s brightness and eventually help Earth...

Read More:
Views from NASA's Methane Source Finder, a tool that provides methane data for the state of California. The data are derived from airborne remote-sensing, surface-monitoring networks and satellites and are presented on an interactive map alongside infrastructure information. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A Third of California Methane Traced to a Few Super-Emitters

NASA scientists are helping California create a detailed, statewide inventory of methane point sources - highly concentrated methane releases from sin...

Read More:

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.