The NASA Airborne Science Program aircraft list provides unique NASA aircraft and commercial 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, such as the ROSES Call 2015: KORUS-AQ (Korea US- Air Quality), 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 http://airbornescience.nasa.gov/sofrs.
For all "Commercial" aircraft, in addition to filing a Flight Request, investigators are responsible for contacting vendors to determine if the platform meets the requirements of the proposed scientific investigation. It is 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 Viking 400 was designed by BAI Inc and recently manufactured by L3 Aeronautical Systems. NASA Ames Research Center acquired 8 surplus aircraft in 2014 as the aircraft characteristis and capabilities are nearly identical the the SIERRA UAV. This small Category 3 (~500lbs) UAV performs remote sensing, atmospheric sampling, and aeronautical research support. Viking is well suited for precise and accurate data collection missions in remote or dangerous environments. Its is large enough to carry up to 100lbs of scientific instruments for up to 600 miles yet small enough not to require a large runway or hangar.
Ports exist in the front for cameras and/or atmospheric sampling missions. The Viking complements other UAVs in the NASA science fleet specializing in "low and slow" missions that require larger payload capacity than Category I and II UAVs. This size class has demonstrated the capability of gathering earth science data from passive (eg. imagers), active (eg. radar, lidar) and in situ (eg. gas analyzers) remote sensing systems.
NASA Ames will assist in all aspects of project planning and implementation including instrument integration, access to airspace, deployment logistics, and cost estimates. To request flights as part of a proposal please use the flight request link at the top of the page.
Page Last Updated: August 31, 2015
Page Editor: Sommer Beddingfield
NASA Official: Bruce A. Tagg