Tech

May 4, 2012

NASA’s ER-2 completes MABEL validation deployment

Dryden-mabel1
The flight, ground and science team that supported the MABEL laser altimeter validation flights over Greenland gathered by NASA's ER-2 for a group photo before pilot Stu Broce (in pressure suit) took the aircraft aloft on its return flight from Keflavik, Iceland to Palmdale, Calif. April 27.

NASA’s high-flying ER-2 Airborne Science aircraft has concluded its four-week deployment to validate data acquired by the Multiple Altimeter Beam Experiment Lidar (MABEL) laser altimeter over the Greenland ice cap and surrounding sea ice fields.

After an almost 10 and one-half hour transit flight from its deployment base in Keflavik, Iceland, NASA ER-2 pilot Stu Broce landed ER-2 806 April 27 at the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, Calif. The lengthy flight from Iceland included data collection by the MABEL instrument over a portion of broadleaf deciduous forest in Wisconsin. The ground support and science crew that supported the flights returned several days later.

“We completed 100 percent of the science flights,” said Broce, noting that they were able to acquire data on several additional ad hoc targets that were not in the original plan. “The weather cooperated, the plane worked well as did the science instruments.”

The convergence of two glaciers near Thule, Greenland can be seen in this photo from the cockpit of NASA’s ER-2 Earth Resources aircraft during a MABEL laser altimeter validation flight.

The ER-2 flew more than 100 hours on 16 flights in the MABEL validation campaign, including 14 data collection flights over Greenland and surrounding sea ice areas and two transit flights between Keflavik and its home base in Palmdale. Several of the flights were conducted concurrently and on the same flight tracks as flights of other NASA environmental science aircraft involved in the Arctic IceBridge campaign in order to compare data being recorded by the MABEL with instruments on the other aircraft.

Broce had one word to describe the areas of Greenland over which the ER-2 flew: desolate.

A former Air Force pilot, Broce had not flown in this area of the world before the MABEL mission. He noted that one flight took him to 84 degrees north latitude where, he commented, the sun is at a very low angle.

Targets of the flights included wide areas of Greenland’s ice sheets and surrounding sea ice fields, the Jacobshavn, Svalbard and East Glaciers, and a volcano in Iceland.

The partially broken sea ice pack below NASA’s ER-2 can be clearly seen through the pilot’s cockpit viewing sight during one of the MABEL laser altimeter validation flights.

NASA ER-2 research pilot Tim Williams, Dryden’s senior representative on the deployment, noted that more than 5.5 terrabytes of data was collected by the MABEL laser altimeter, the Cloud Physics Lidar and other instruments on board the ER-2 during the mission.

MABEL was developed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center to simulate a similar instrument planned for NASA’s IceSat-2 environmental satellite that is scheduled for launch in 2016. Scientists consider laser altimetry from satellites or aircraft to be the most accurate method of gauging changing elevations over a period of time, and thus determine the thickening or thinning of Arctic or Antarctic ice fields and sea ice related to climate change.

Flight and science team members participated in a number of public and educational outreach activities during their stay in Iceland, including briefings on MABEL and IceSAT-2 during a speech on climate by Iceland’s president, to the U.S. ambassador and embassy personnel, and to middle- and high-school students, the University of Reykjavik and the Keiler Aviation Academy in Keflavik.

 




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


 
 

 

Headlines July 30, 2014

News: Software to power F-35 running as much as 14 months late¬†- Software needed to operate Lockheed Martin’s F-35 jet, the Pentagon’s costliest weapons system, may be as much as 14 months late for required flight testing, according to a Pentagon review.   Business: Lockheed will turn on JLTV production line In August; 6-D truck...
 
 

News Briefs July 30, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,197 As of July 29, 2014, at least 2,197 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,819 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Tom Reynolds

F-35B successfully completes wet runway, crosswind testing

Lockheed Martin photograph by Tom Reynolds F-35B aircraft BF-4, piloted by Lockheed Martin Test Pilot Dan Levin, starts down the runway as part of wet runway and crosswind testing at Edwards AFB, Calif. In an important program ...
 

 
boeing-chinook

Boeing delivers first U.S. Army multiyear II configured Chinook

Boeing July 29 delivered the first multiyear II configured CH-47F Chinook helicopter to the U.S. Army one month ahead of schedule. The delivery was celebrated in a ceremony at the production facility in Ridley Township, Penn. ‚...
 
 
Army photograph by SSgt. Angela Stafford

Engineers developing safer, more accurate tracer round

Army photograph Tracer rounds enable the shooter to follow the projectile trajectory to make aiming corrections. However, the light emitted by these rounds also gives away the position of the shooter. Engineers at Picatinny Ars...
 
 
NASA photograph by Carla Thomas

Katherine Lott awarded NASA Armstrong employee scholarship

NASA photograph by Carla Thomas Katherine Lott, the recipient of the 2014 NASA Armstrong Employee Exchange Council Joseph R. Vensel Memorial Scholarship, is congratulated by NASA Armstrong center director David McBride. Flankin...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>