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.


Current Status:
Undergoing Modifications (ends 09/30/25)

The NASA B777-200ER was acquired to replace and extend the capabilities of the NASA DC-8, which is retiring in 2024. The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) 2021 report entitled "Airborne Platforms to Advance Earth System Science Priorities: Assessing the Future Need for a Large Aircraft" outlines the need to maintain and improve upon the capability to carry a variety of remote sensing and gas sampling instruments in order to answer some of the most challenging questions in earth science. 

The aircraft is currently undergoing modifications at NASA Langley Research Center to include several nadir and window ports, power, data and communications systems, and instrument operator accommodations. First operations are planned for FY2026 from NASA Langley Research Center. This unique flying laboratory will have truly global reach enabling data collection for NASA projects to include sensor development, satellite sensor calibration, data product validation, and field studies to better understand earth system processes to improve models and decision-making. The predecessor to the B777, the DC-8 demonstrated the multidisciplinary nature of this class of platforms by supporting such diverse fields as of atmospheric chemistry, archeology, biology, ecology, hydrology, meteorology, oceanography, and volcanology.


NASA Langley Research Center
Twin engine, fixed-wing, wide-body, long-range commercial airliner
18.0 hours (payload and weather dependent)
Useful Payload: 
75,000 lbs
Gross Take-off Weight: 
648,000 lbs
Onboard Operators: 
Max Altitude: 
9,000 Nmi
28VDC; 115VAC 60Hz; 115VAC 400Hz
NASA SMD User Fee per Hour: 
Point(s) of Contact: 

Glenn Jamison

Mobile: (757) 403-8403

Martin Nowicki

Work: (757) 824-1754
Mobile: (757) 894-8464
Fax: (757) 824-1997
Individual Aircraft Details: 

N577NA (NASA577) based at NASA LARC
  Year built: 2003
  Year entered ASP service: 2025