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.

Mk 4.4 Aerosonde

The Mk 4.4 Aerosonde is a small, autonomous, high performance, high endurance, expeditionary UAS. It is powered by a high-performance reciprocating engine and has a broad operational flight envelope. The Mk 4.4 Aerosonde AV is extremely versatile; with several payloads varying widely in specification, performance and capability having already been integrated for a variety of customers. The list of integrated mission payloads consist of more than a dozen scientific payloads, including various radio sondes and other meteorological monitoring instruments; sensors and cameras; remote sensing equipment; laser scanner; radiometers; and radar altimeter.
The airframe consists of a fuselage pod nacelle with a rear-mounted engine and high-mounted wing; twin tailbooms with inverted V tail unit, constructed mainly of composites. the aircraft is launched from a cartop mount and belly recovered (no landing gear).
The system consists of one or more air vehicles, payloads, single GCS and ground crew of three (minimum). Aerosonde flight hours are now excess of 5,000.

Depending on payload configuration, the Aerosonde Mk 4.4 is also capable of performing a variety of missions including:
1. Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Target Acquisition (ISR/TA)
2. Battlefield Monitoring and Battle Damage Assessment
3. Border Patrol and Force Security
4. Fire Detection
5. Search & Rescue

30.0 hours (payload and weather dependent)
Useful Payload: 
10 lbs
Gross Take-off Weight: 
34 lbs
Onboard Operators: 
Max Altitude: 
12,000 MSL
Air Speed: 
62 knots
1,100 Nmi
18 VDC, 15VDC