Aircraft List

The NASA Airborne Science Program provides a unique set of NASA supported aircraft that benefit the earth science community. These manned and unmanned aircraft carry the sensors that provide data to support and augment NASA spaceborne missions.

Reminder: All investigators with approved or pending proposals from the Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) announcements that have a requirement for a NASA Airborne Science platform/instrument, must submit a Flight Request. The Flight Request is also the method to acquire an estimate if your proposal requires a cost estimate for Airborne Science support. However, for investigators proposing to participate on large, multi-aircraft experiments, a single Flight Request will be submitted for each mission by the Project Manager or Project Scientist. The Science Operations Flight Request System (SOFRS) can be reached directly at

Non-NASA Aircraft
NASA instrumentation may fly on non-NASA Federal aircraft as well as academic and commercial platforms for which agreements for access by SMD investigators are in place, in process, or have recently been approved by NASA Aviation Management as airworthy and safe to operate. For more information, please review the current ASP Call Letter for further requirements and guidance. Please note that in addition to filing the required Flight Request, investigators are responsible for contacting vendors to determine if the platform meets the requirements of the proposed scientific investigation. It is also the responsibility of the investigator to ensure that before any preliminary test flights or actual data collection flights utilizing NASA personnel, instruments or funds occur, all vendors successfully complete a NASA airworthiness/flight safety review in accordance with NASA Aviation Safety Policy for Non-NASA Aircraft.



C-9 aircraft acquired by NASA from the U.S. Navy on 9 August 2003 from Whidbey Island NAS, WA. The C-9 is the military version of the McDonnell Douglas DC-9 used for many years by the commercial airlines. The U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force have utilized the C-9 aircraft in support of passenger transportation, medical evacuation and special missions.

The primary mission of the NASA C-9 is to provide NASA and government microgravity researchers the platform to perform their research in a reduced gravity environment. The aircraft is also utilized for Heavy Aircraft Training (HAT) for astronaut pilots, support the movement of the shuttle from landing sites in California and New Mexico back to Kennedy Space Center, Trans-Atlantic Landing support and the Emergency Mission Control Move mission.

NASA Johnson Space Center
Twin-engine turbofan aircraft
Gross Take-off Weight: 
110,000 lbs
Max Altitude: 
Air Speed: 
490 knots
2,000 Nmi
Point(s) of Contact: 

Dom del Rosso

Jim Alexander

Work: (281) 244-9870