News

An image of the Camp Fire on Nov. 8 from the Landsat 8 satellite. Credits: USGS/NASA/Joshua Stevens

NASA Mobilizes to Aid California Fires Response

For the past two weeks NASA scientists and satellite data analysts have been working every day producing maps and damage assessments that can be used ...

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The Hiawatha impact crater is covered by the Greenland Ice Sheet, which flows just beyond the crater rim, forming a semi-circular edge. Part of this edge (top of photo) and a tongue of ice that breaches the crater’s rim are shown in this photo taken during a NASA Operation IceBridge flight on April 17. Credits: NASA/John Sonntag

International Team, NASA Make Unexpected Discovery Under...

An international team of researchers, including a NASA glaciologist, has discovered a large meteorite impact crater hiding beneath more than a half-mi...

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A close-up view of the rift separating Pine Island Glacier and iceberg B-46, as seen on an Operation IceBridge flight on November 7, 2018. Credits: NASA/ Brooke Medley

Massive Antarctic Iceberg Spotted on NASA IceBridge Flight

NASA’s Operation IceBridge flew over an iceberg that is three times the size of Manhattan – the first time anyone has laid eyes on the giant icebe...

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A thick haze of milky-gray smoke overlies a blue ocean surface dotted with puffy white low clouds in this view of the smoke-cloud system over the southeast Atlantic Ocean, taken from the window of the P-3 during a science flight on August 24th, 2017. Credits: Michael Diamond

African Smoke-Cloud Connection Target of NASA Airborne Flights

This month, NASA's P-3 research aircraft and a team of scientists return on their third deployment to this region as part of the Observations of Aeros...

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The Shackleton Range in Antarctica at sunset with snow blowing off the ridges, photographed during an Operation IceBridge flight on Oct. 10, 2018. Credits: NASA/Michael Studinger

Operation IceBridge, ICESat-2 Join Forces To Survey Antarctica

NASA’s decade-long airborne survey of polar ice, Operation IceBridge, is once again probing Antarctica. But this year is different: it is the first ...

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NASA’s G-III aircraft staged operations from Gainesville, Florida. The UAVSAR pod is located at the bottom of the aircraft’s fuselage. Credits: NASA/Samuel Choi

NASA Airborne Team Surveys Flooding from Hurricane Florence

In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, which struck the Carolinas on Sept. 14 causing widespread damage, NASA quickly deployed a sophisticated airbor...

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Oceans Melting Greenland Principal Investigator Josh Willis drops a probe during OMG's fall 2018 airborne campaign, then he and flight engineer Glenn Warren watch its descent from the plane windows. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Finding Open Water in Greenland's Icy Seas

Researchers in NASA's Oceans Melting Greenland campaign release scientific probes from an airplane into the seawater along the coast of Greenland. The...

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About the Airborne Science Program

The Airborne Science Program within the Earth Science Division is responsible for providing aircraft systems that further science and advance the use of satellite data. The primary objectives of this program are to:

  • Satellite Calibration and Validation
  • Provide platforms to enable essential calibration measurements for the Earth observing satellites, and the validation of data retrieval algorithms.

  • Support New Sensor Development
  • Provide sub-orbital flight opportunities to test and refine new instrument technologies/algorithms, and reduce risk prior to committing sensors for launch into space.

  • Process Studies
  • Obtain high-resolution temporal and spatial measurements of complex local processes, which can be coupled to global satellite observations for a better understanding of the complete Earth system.

  • Develop the Next-Generation of Scientists and Engineers
  • Foster the development of our future workforce with the hands-on involvement of graduate students, and young scientists/engineers in all aspects of ongoing Earth science investigations.

    To meet these observing objectives ASP maintains and operates a suite of sustained, ongoing platforms and sensors on which investigators can rely from year to year. From these known capabilities the Science Mission Directorate can develop observing strategies. However, an ongoing capability will be resource-constrained and eventually technology-constrained, so that not all observing requirements will be met with the limited core capability. Therefore the program facilitates access to other platforms or sensors on a funds-available, as-needed basis, to accommodate unique and/or occasional requirements. The Program also looks for new or evolving technologies to demonstrate their applicability for Earth science. Depending on the success of the demonstrations and the observing needs, the core capability is expected to evolve and change over time. The speed and extent of change will be balanced against the need for established, known capabilities for long-term planning.