The NASA Airborne Science Program website will be unavaible over Memorial Day weekend between Friday, May 26th at 5:00 PM PDT through Tuesday, May 30th at 6:00 AM PDT. Please plan to complete any critical activities before or after this time.


NASA Polar Ice Survey Flights Conclude

NASA’s annual survey of changes in Arctic ice cover greatly expanded its reach this year in a series of flights that wrapped up on May 12. It was th...

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Winter sun setting over the tundra polygons in northern Alaska in November 2015. As winter sets in and snow settles, the soils take time to freeze completely and continue to emit carbon dioxide long into the new year. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Charles Miller

Alaska Tundra Source of Early-Winter Carbon Emissions

Three years of observations from NASA’s Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment (CARVE) airborne mission were used in a new study that ...

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The Wallops Flight Facility Aircraft Office operates the NASA C-23 Sherpa research aircraft available to support airborne science research. The C-23 is a two-engine turboprop aircraft designed to operate under the most arduous conditions, in a wide range of mission configurations. Credits: NASA

NASA to Measure Greenhouse Gases Over the Mid-Atlantic Region

In May, a team of Goddard scientists will begin measuring greenhouse gases over the Mid-Atlantic region — an area chosen in part because it encompas...

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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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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.