Christy Hansen

Christy Hansen - A Force of Nature

Christy Hansen plans and manages airborne science missions. She helps scientists, engineers and managers to design aircraft-based Earth science missio...

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Laura Judd, postdoctoral researcher at NASA Langley, prepares for a LISTOS science flight on the center's HU-25 aircraft. GeoTASO, a remote-sensing instrument that observes reflected sunlight to measure atmospheric trace gases and aerosols over a wide area, is visible in the foreground. Credits: NASA/David C. Bowman

NASA Joins Effort to Sniff Out Ozone in the Northeast

A scientific investigation is looking into how ozone forms and how it's being transported around the Long Island Sound. Led by the Northeast States ...

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Students, mentors and faculty of the 2018 NASA Student Airborne Research Program pose in front of the NASA DC-8

Student Airborne Research Program Celebrates Tenth Year

Twenty-eight undergraduate students are participating in an eight-week NASA airborne science program field experience designed to immerse them in the ...

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Nabesna Glacier. Image Credit: Chris Larsen, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

Dirty, Crevassed Glaciers in Alaska

Over the years, scientists have captured spectacular photographs while mapping ice during NASA’s Operation IceBridge mission. Many of the photogra...

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ACT-America: The Story So Far

A NASA airborne science study looking at the transport of two major greenhouse gases in the eastern half of the U.S. just completed its fourth and nex...

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Help from Above: NASA Aids Kilauea Disaster Response

On May 3, the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island erupted from new fissures and sent lava flowing over streets and neighborhoods. As the disaster...

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A large iceberg floating among sea ice floes, as seen during an operation IceBridge survey flight on Apr. 21, 2018. Credits: NASA/Linette Boisvert

NASA Completes Survey Flights to Map Arctic Ice

Operation IceBridge, NASA’s longest-running airborne mission to monitor polar ice change, concluded this year’s springtime survey of Arctic sea an...

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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.