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.

Gulfstream III - LaRC

NASA Langley Gulfstream III (C-20B)
Current Status:
Maintenance (ends 04/25/24)

The NASA Langley Research Center received authorization from NASA Headquarters on September 18, 2017 to acquire three excess C-20B Gulfstream III aircraft from the U.S. Air Force. Two of these aircraft are used as parts support for the Agency, and the third aircraft is used for research. The research G-III (C-20B) aircraft, designated NASA 520, replaced the Dassault HU-25A Guardian aircraft (NASA 524). The research aircraft arrived at NASA Langley on December 7, 2017. NASA Langley has installed the following features:  an engine hush kit; research power distribution system; intercom system; dropsonde capability; and, two nadir portals in the fuselage. The hush kit enables the aircraft to be Stage III noise compliant, allowing the aircraft to deploy nationwide and worldwide without requiring engine noise waivers. The nadir portals allow the aircraft to install earth science sensors, as is possible with the Center’s B200 King Air aircraft, NASA 529.

NASA Langley Research Center
Twin Turbofan Business-class Aircraft
7.5 hours (payload and weather dependent)
Useful Payload: 
2,610 lbs
Gross Take-off Weight: 
69,700 lbs
Onboard Operators: 
Max Altitude: 
Air Speed: 
459 knots
3,767 Nmi
NASA SMD User Fee per Hour: 
Point(s) of Contact: 

Bruce Fisher

Work: (757) 864-3862
Individual Aircraft Details: 

N520NA (NASA 520) based at NASA Langley
  Year built: 1986
  Year entered ASP service: 2020