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 NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas is the home of the NASA WB-57 High Altitude Research Program. Three fully operational WB-57 aircraft are based near JSC at Ellington Field. The aircraft have been flying research missions since the early 1970's, and continue to be an asset to the scientific community with professional, reliable, customer-oriented service designed to meet all scientific objectives.
The WB-57 is a mid-wing, long-range aircraft capable of operation for extended periods of time from sea level to altitudes in excess of 60,000 feet. Two crew members are positioned at separate tandem stations in the forward section of the fuselage. The pilot station contains all the essential equipment for flying the aircraft while the sensor equipment operator (SEO) station contains both navigational equipment and controls for the operation of the payloads that are located throughout the aircraft. The WB-57 can fly for approximately 6.5 hours, has a range of approximately 2500 miles, and can carry up to 8,800 lbs of payload.
Page Last Updated: February 1, 2016
Page Editor: Sommer Beddingfield
NASA Official: Bruce A. Tagg