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 renowned NOAA WP-3D Orions, participate in a wide variety of national and international meteorological, oceanographic and environmental research programs in addition to their widely known use in hurricane research and reconnaissance. These versatile turboprop aircraft are equipped with an unprecedented variety of scientific instrumentation, radars and recording systems for both in-situ and remote sensing measurements of the atmosphere, the earth, and its environment. Obtained as new aircraft from the Lockheed production line in the mid-70's, these robust and well-maintained aircraft have led NOAA's continuing effort to monitor and study hurricanes and other severe storms, the quality of the atmosphere, the state of the ocean and its fish population, and climate trends.
With their worldwide operating capability, they have participated in numerous research experiments from the Indian Ocean, Australia and the Solomon Islands to Ireland, the North Sea, and the Alps. On a national scope, they have operated from the Arctic Ocean and Alaska through most regions of the U.S. and into the Caribbean. Hurricane and tropical storm research have taken place in the Atlantic, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern Pacific. Estimated useful lifetime for these two research platforms is another 10 to 15 years.
Page Last Updated: December 20, 2016
Page Editor: Erin Justice
NASA Official: Mike Craig