NASA

August 24, 2012

Two hurricane Global Hawks, two sets of instruments

NASA’s Hurricane Severe Storm Sentinel Mission, or HS3, will be studying hurricanes at the end of the summer, and there will be two high-altitude, long-duration unmanned aircraft with different instruments flying over the storms.

The unmanned aircraft, dubbed “severe storm sentinels,” are operated by pilots located in ground control stations at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Va., and NASA’s Dryden Flight Center on Edwards Air Base, Calif. The NASA Global Hawk is well-suited for hurricane investigations because it can over-fly hurricanes at altitudes greater than 60,000 feet with flight durations of up to 28 hours.

Technicians prepare to install the High-Altitude Imaging Wind and Rain Profiler, or HIWRAP, on the underside of a NASA Global Hawk. HIWRAP is one of the science instruments being carried by the remotely operated high-altitude aircraft during the Hurricane and Severe Sentinel missions.

Using unmanned aircraft has many advantages. Hurricanes present an extreme environment that is difficult to sample. They cover thousands of square miles in area, and can also extend up to 50,000 feet in altitude. Second, they involve very high winds, turbulence and heavy precipitation. Third, ground conditions (high winds that create heavy seas or blowing material) make surface observations difficult.

“Several NASA centers are joining federal and university partners in the Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel airborne mission targeted to investigate the processes that underlie hurricane formation and intensity change in the Atlantic Ocean basin,” said Scott Braun, principal investigator for the HS3 Mission and research meteorologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Two NASA Global Hawks that will be flying during the HS3 mission. Each will have different payloads, or collections of instruments aboard. Necessary observations are winds, temperature, humidity (water), precipitation, and aerosol (particle) profiles from the surface to the lower stratosphere.

NASA Goddard’s Lihau Li, left, and Gerry Heymsfield adjust the High-Altitude Imaging Wind and Rain Profiler prior to its installation on NASA’s Global Hawk for the upcoming hurricane study.

The first Global Hawk payload, installed in aircraft No. 872, will consist of three instruments. That payload is for sampling the environment that hurricanes are embedded within. A laser system called Cloud Physics Lidar developed at NASA Goddard will be located in the Global Hawk’s nose. CPL measures cloud structure and aerosols such as dust, sea salt particles, smoke particles by bouncing laser light off of those particles and clouds. An infrared instrument called the Scanning High-resolution Interferometer Sounder or S-HIS from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, will be located in the belly of the Global Hawk. It can be used to remotely measure or remotely sense the temperature and water vapor vertical profile along with the sea surface temperature and some cloud properties. A dropsonde system from the National Center for Atmospheric Research and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will be located in the tail of the aircraft. The dropsonde system ejects small sensors tied to parachutes that drift down through the storm measuring winds, temperature and humidity.

Global Hawk No. 871 will also carry a payload of three instruments. That Global Hawk’s prime responsibility is to sample the cores of hurricanes. A microwave system called the High-Altitude MMIC Sounding Radiometer or HAMSR, created by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., will be located in the aircraft’s nose. HAMSR measures temperature, water vapor, and vertical precipitation profiles.

NASA’s Global Hawk No. 871 cruises over low cloud layers above the Dryden Flight Research Center on Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. This was the first Global Hawk built in the original Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program, joining NASA’s other Global Hawk, No. 872, for high-altitude, long-endurance environmental science missions.

A radar system called the High-altitude Imaging Wind & Rain Airborne Profiler or HIWRAP from NASA Goddard will be located in the second (No. 871) Global Hawk’s belly. It is similar to a ground radar system but pointed downward. HIWRAP measures cloud structure and winds. The Hurricane Imaging Radiometer (HIRAD) from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., will be located in the aircraft’s tail section. HIRAD measures microwave radiation emitted from the surface and atmosphere. The HIRAD observations yield surface wind speeds and rain rates.

Both Global Hawks will be flying out of NASA Wallops Flight Facility in September, the peak month for the Atlantic Hurricane Season.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Separated but not alone

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho–As the dawn broke out over the mountains, I woke up to the sun peeping through my window. Once I got up I went straight to the kitchen to make my family breakfast yet in the back of my mind, all I could think about was, how am I going...
 
 
duck-blind2

Duck blind drawing slated for Aug. 8

Waterfowl hunters can participate in the annual duck blind drawing scheduled Aug. 8 at the Rod and Gun Activity, Bldg. 210. Base hunting permits may be submitted to drawing officials from 9 a.m. until the actual drawing begins,...
 
 
LPGA1

Free golf clinics with LPGA tour player

Air Force photographs by Rebecca Amber Ladies Professional Golf Association tour player Stephanie Louden demonstrates how to correctly use three golf clubs, a wedge, a 7-iron and a driver during the free golf clinic July 24. Lo...
 

 

NASA’S American Eatery (Bldg. 4825)

Aug. 3-7 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday Beef taco salad Tuesday Lasagna Side salad and garlic bread Wednesday Country fried steak Mashed potatoes and gravy Vegetables Thursday Orange chicken Fried rice and egg roll Friday Baked cod Macaroni and cheese Broccoli All Blue Plate Specials — $7.89 Drink not included. Medium Beverage, $1.99; Large,...
 
 

Air Force promotes fatigue countermeasures

Human fatigue results from sleep deprivation. Fatigue has become a growing concern in the Air Force as sustained and continuous operations, along with global deployments, are stretching the ability of our forces to meet growing mission demands. Some Airmen may question whether fatigue is really a big enough hazard to worry about. Fatigue can decrease...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Chrissy Best

Losing sleep: CSAF shares what keeps him up at night

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Chrissy Best Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III speaks with 501st Combat Support Wing Airmen during an all call at Royal Air Force Croughton, England, July 16. Welsh explained the...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>