News

NASA’s Global Hawk being prepared at Armstrong to monitor and take scientific measurements of Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

NASA-led Airborne Mission Studies Storm Intensification in...

A group of NASA and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists are teaming up this month for an airborne mission focused on stud...

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NASA's P-3 aircraft is prepared for departure from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia early in the morning Aug. 1 to support the agency’s Observations of Aerosols above Clouds and their interactions or ORACLES mission. A five-year investigation, ORACLES is examining the impact aerosols from biomass burning in southern Africa has on climate as it mixes with clouds over the southeast Atlantic Ocean. The 2017 flight campaign, which runs through August, will base from São Tomé, Africa.

NASA Airborne Mission Returns to Africa to Study Smoke, Clouds

NASA's P-3 research plane begins flights this month through both clouds and smoke over the South Atlantic Ocean to understand how tiny airborne partic...

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Two Decades of Changes in Helheim Glacier

Since 1997, NASA has collected data over Helheim Glacier almost every year during annual airborne surveys of the Greenland Ice Sheet using an airborne...

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WB-57F jet is readied for a test run at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The instruments are mounted under the silver casing on the nose of the plane. Credits: NASA’s Johnson Space Center/Norah Moran

Chasing the Total Solar Eclipse from NASA’s WB-57F Jets

For most viewers, the Aug. 21, 2017, total solar eclipse will last less than two and half minutes. But for one team of NASA-funded scientists, the ecl...

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NASA and South Korea used research aircraft for an intensive study in and around the Seoul metropolitan area in 2016 to address the country’s poor air quality and lay the groundwork for next-generation pollution-monitoring satellites. Credits: NASA

Early Airborne Results Address South Korean Air Quality

For six weeks in the summer of 2016 scientists from the United States and the Republic of Korea intensively studied air pollution over the Korean peni...

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65,000 feet above Earth, the NASA ER-2 high-altitude pilot calmly waits to adjust course and intercept lightning producing storms. Credit: NASA

Hunting for Lightning: A Day at the GOES-16 Post-Launch Field...

A team of instrument scientists, meteorologists, and specialized pilots have used a high-altitude plane, ground-based sensors, and satellites to colle...

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Students participating in the 2017 NASA Student Airborne Research Program meet the pilots of the NASA Sherpa

Students to Study Earth from Three NASA Flying Laboratories

This summer 32 undergraduate students are participating in an eight-week NASA airborne science field campaign designed to immerse them in the agency's...

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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.