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 April 14, 2014

Business: U.S. Navy looks to leverage submarine work to keep costs down - The U.S. Navy hopes to save money and time by leveraging industry investments as it replaces its Ohio-class nuclear-armed submarines with the Virginia-class attack submarines now built by General Dynamics Corp and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc.  Study raises red flags on California aerospace...
 
 

News Briefs April 14, 2014

U.S. Navy destroyer Zumwalt christened in Maine The U.S. Navy has christened the first ship of its newest class of destroyers, a 610-foot (186-meter)-long warship with advanced technologies and a stealthy design that will reduce its visibility on enemy radars. The warship bears the name of the late Adm. Elmo ìBudî Zumwalt, who became the...
 
 
Navy photograph by Seamn Edward Guttierrez III

Russian aircraft flies near U.S. Navy ship in Black Sea

Navy photograph by Seamn Edward Guttierrez III Sailors man the rails as the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook arrives at Naval Station Rota, Spain, Feb. 11, 2014. Donald Cook is the first of four Arle...
 

 

45th Space Wing launches NRO Satellite on board Atlas V

The 45th Space Wing successfully launched a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., at 1:45 p.m. April 10 carrying a classified national security payload. The payload was designed and built by the National Reconnaissance Office. “I am proud of the persistence and focus of the...
 
 

U.S. Air Force selects Cubic for Moroccan P5 air combat training system

Cubic Defense Systems, a subsidiary of Cubic Corporation announced April 11 it has been awarded a contract valued at more than $5 million from the U.S. Air Force to supply its P5 Combat Training System to the Moroccan Air Force. Morocco will join the United States Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, along with a...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph

NASA’s Orion Spacecraft powers through first integrated system testing

Lockheed Martin photograph Engineers in the Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, perform avionics testing on the Orion spacecraft being prepared for its first trip to space later this ye...
 




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>