View from the NASA ER-2 high-altitude aircraft cockpit: Sonoran Desert coastline during ABI validation flight on March 23. Credits: NASA

NASA's High-Altitude Plane Takes to the Sky for GOES-16...

A NASA ER-2 high-altitude plane has taken to the air to complete phase one of the 11-week GOES-16 Field Campaign to ensure NOAA's GOES-16 satellite pr...

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The NASA P-3 Orion aircraft departs the Wallops Facility as the sun rises in the early morning. Credits: NASA/ Patrick Black

NASA’s P-3 Begins 2017 with IceBridge Support

The spring NASA Operation IceBridge campaign will take the P-3 to Greenland, Norway, and Alaska over the next 10 weeks. The P-3 last flew with IceBrid...

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View of the island of Hawaii from the window of NASA’s ER-2 aircraft. Credits: NASA

NASA-Led Campaign Studies Hawaii’s Iconic Volcanoes

This month, a NASA-led science team is exploring Kilauea and the adjacent volcano Mauna Loa from the air, ground and space. Their goal: to better unde...

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The Ikhana aircraft is flying a TAMDAR Edge probe that could significantly improve weather models and forecasts. Credits: NASA Photo / Lori Losey

Probe May Improve Weather Forecasts

A weather probe that eventually will relay atmospheric conditions as they are unfolding and provide data to improve weather forecasts and models, has ...

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In February 2017, scientists begin collecting data on coral reef health and volcanic emissions and eruptions in Hawaii using NASA airborne instruments, watercraft, and ground-based sensors. Credits: NASA/Benjamin Phillips (left), NOAA (right)

NASA Invites Media Behind the Scenes of Volcano, Coral Reef...

NASA is hosting a media day on Feb. 8 in O’ahu, Hawaii, to spotlight two field campaigns that seek to unlock some of the mysteries behind two of Haw...

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Wallops Aircraft Supporting NASA Science Projects from Pole to...

The fleet of aircraft at the Wallops Flight Facility that support NASA’s airborne sciences program are preparing for a busy year as the agency conti...

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As the DC-8 flies, these inlets collect air into the more than 20 scientific instruments aboard, which measure various atmospheric gases and pollutants. Credits: NASA/Roisin Commane

NASA Airborne Mission Chases Air Pollution Through the Seasons

A NASA airborne mission will take a world-wide survey of these seasonal transformations by flying from the heart of winter in the Northern Hemisphere,...

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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.