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 September 11, 2014

News: Obama ready to strike at Islamic State militants in Syria, he tells policy experts - President Obama is prepared to use U.S. military airstrikes in Syria as part of an expanded campaign to defeat the Islamic State and does not believe he needs formal congressional approval to take that action, according to people who have...
 
 

News Briefs September 11, 2014

U.S. airstrikes in Iraq hit Islamic State vehicles The U.S. military says it launched five more airstrikes in support of Iraqi government troops and Sunni tribesmen protecting the Haditha Dam against fighters of the Islamic State group that controls parts of northern and western Iraq. Central Command says that a combination of U.S. attack, fighter...
 
 
boeing-india

Boeing delivers fifth P-8I maritime patrol aircraft to India

  Boeing delivered the fifth P-8I maritime patrol aircraft to India, on schedule, Sept. 9 as part of a contract for eight aircraft to support the Indian Navy’s maritime patrol requirements. The aircraft arrived at Naval ...
 

 

Raytheon receives $109 million contract for Patriot Air and Missile Defense System

Raytheon Comp received a $109 million Engineering Services contract for its Patriot Air and Missile Defense System. The contract, issued by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is for ongoing technical support and services to the U.S. Army and Foreign Military Sale customers to ensure readiness of their Patriot systems. “Customers...
 
 
boeing-satellite

Boeing receives first order for 502 Phoenix small satellite

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Boeing has received its first commercial order for the 502 Phoenix small satellite from HySpecIQ of Washington, D.C. The satellites will carry the commercial remote sensing industry’s first high...
 
 

Northrop Grumman to develop active electronically scanned array technology

Northrop Grumman has been selected by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop and demonstrate advanced wideband digital antenna technology for next generation radio frequency sensors using active electronically scanned arrays. The DARPA Microsystems Technology Office awarded Northrop Grumman an $11.9 million contract for phase one of the Arrays on Commercial Timescales (ACT) pr...
 




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>