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.


The Ikhana is a remotely piloted General Atomics Predator B that was acquired by NASA to serve as an aeronautical research aircraft and to serve the Earth Sciences community. The Ikhana measures 36 feet in length, and has a wingspan of 66 feet. It has a maximum takeoff weight of 10,500 pounds. The payload capability of Ikhana is 2000 plus pounds (external) and more than 800 pounds (internal). Where possible, sensor payloads are integrated into wing-mounted pods to minimize aircraft downtime and allow rapid reconfiguration. Ikhana can operate at altitudes from 500 feet to above 40,000 feet with endurances above 24 hours.

NASA Armstrong (Dryden) Flight Research Center
24 hours (payload and weather dependent)
Useful Payload: 
2,000 lbs
Gross Take-off Weight: 
10,000 lbs
Onboard Operators: 
0 (remotely piloted)
Max Altitude: 
> 40,000 ft.
Air Speed: 
171 knots
3,500 Nmi
~6 KW at 28 VDC (altitude dependent)
Point(s) of Contact: 

Mauricio Rivas

Work: (661) 276-3678