NASA’s Longest Running Survey of Ice Shattered Records in 2017

Last year was a record-breaking one for Operation IceBridge, NASA’s aerial survey of the state of polar ice. For the first time in its nine-year his...

Read More:
NASA's Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) airborne radar platform detected changes caused by the debris flows between two images acquired on Nov. 2, 2017, and Feb. 5, 2018. An enhanced image pair (top left) shows disturbed areas in orange. In areas of severe surface disruption from the fire scar and debris flows the two image pairs can't be matched and decorrelate (top right). In the middle panels, the radar images are overlaid on the structure damage map produced by the County of

California Debris Flows Seen in Before/After Images from NASA...

Extreme winter rains in January 2018 following the Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties caused severe debris flows, resulting in signific...

Read More:
NASA’s DC-8 “Flying Laboratory” is on its way to Germany for a joint flight campaign to sample clouds, contrails or aircraft emissions. Credits: NASA

NASA Takes International Aviation Research to the ‘Max’

NASA’s ongoing research into what happens with engine performance, emissions and contrail formation when different types of fuels are used in jet en...

Read More:
From a Dec. 8, 2017, International Space Station flyover of Southern California, NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik photographed the plumes of smoke rising from wildfires and shared images of the region with his social media followers. Credits: NASA/Randy Bresnik

NASA Covers Wildfires from Many Sources

NASA has a fleet of research aircraft carrying the latest sensor technologies that can be used for Earth observations. NASA's ER-2 aircraft, based at...

Read More:
The cock-pit view finder in the ER-2 shows a controlled fire burning near Flagstaff, Arizona on Nov. 7, 2017. This small fire event offered the ACEPOL science team a different test environment to observe with the polarimeter and lidar instruments onboard the aircraft. Credits: NASA / Stu Broce

Prototype Space Sensors Take Test Ride on NASA ER-2

Scientists recently completed test flights with prototypes of potential satellite sensors over the Western United States probing basic science questio...

Read More:
View from NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center’s ER-2 aircraft shows smoke plumes, from roughly 65,000 feet, produced by the Thomas Fire in Ventura County, California, around 1 p.m. PST on Dec. 5th, 2017. As of Dec. 6, authorities state 65,000 acres have been burned and the fire remains zero percent contained.  Image Credit: NASA/Stu Broce

NASA ER-2 Aircraft Flies Over Thomas Fire in California

During an engineering flight test of the Cloud-Aerosol Multi-Angle Lidar (CAMAL) instrument, a view from NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center’s ER...

Read More:
Left: Greenland topography color-coded from 4,900 feet (1,500 meters) below sea level (dark blue) to 4,900 feet above sea level (brown). Right: regions below sea level connected to the ocean, either shallower than 600 feet (200 meters, light pink); between 600 and 1,000 feet (300 meters, dark pink); or continuously deeper than 1,000 feet below sea level (dark red). The thin white line shows the current extent of the ice sheet. Credits: UCI

New Greenland Maps Show More Glaciers at Risk

  New maps of Greenland’s coastal seafloor and bedrock beneath its massive ice sheet show that two to four times as many coastal glaciers are at ri...

Read More:

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.