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.

WB-57 - JSC

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.

Note: The Airborne Science Program has provided partial funding to support the annual fixed costs of operating the WB-57F aircraft. Within this limited scope, subsidized flight hour rates are available to science mission customers. Contact Airborne Science and WB-57F program management for details.

NASA Johnson Space Center
Conventional Aircraft
6.5 hours (payload and weather dependent)
Useful Payload: 
8,800 lbs
Gross Take-off Weight: 
72,000 lbs
Onboard Operators: 
2 (Pilot and SEO)
Max Altitude: 
60,000 ft and above (payload dependent)
Air Speed: 
410 knots
2,500 Nmi
110V/60Hz AC, 110V/400Hz AC, and 28 VDC
Point(s) of Contact: 

Peter Layshock

Work: (281) 244-1016
Individual Aircraft Details: 

N926NA (NASA926) based at JSC

N928NA (NASA928) based at JSC

N927NA (NASA927) based at JSC