The first of two unmanned Global Hawk aircraft landed at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia, on Aug. 27 after surveying Hurricane Cristobal for the first science flight of NASA's latest hurricane airborne mission.
NASA's airborne Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel, or HS3, mission returns to NASA Wallops for the third year to investigate the processes that underlie hurricane formation and intensity change in the Atlantic Ocean basin. HS3 is a collaborative effort that brings together several NASA centers with federal and university partners.
The NASA Global Hawk 872 lands at 7:43 a.m. EDT, August 27, at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia following a 22-hour transit flight from its home base at the Armstrong Flight Research Center in California.
Image Credit: NASA/ Brea Reeves
The two unmanned Global Hawks participating in HS3 are based at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Base, California, but will be temporarily housed at NASA Wallops for the duration of the HS3 mission which runs through Sept. 29. That window for the mission coincides with the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season that runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
NASA Global Hawk 872 departed NASA Armstrong on the morning of Aug. 26 and arrived at NASA Wallops at 7:43 a.m. EDT on Aug. 27. Global Hawk number 871 is scheduled to fly to Wallops within a week.
“The instruments are tested and then integrated onto each Global Hawk at Armstrong,” said Marilyn Vasques, HS3 Project Manager of NASA Ames. Before the cross-country flights, the ground operations center at Wallops tested the various instruments aboard both aircraft while they were still at Armstrong. “After integration and outdoor tests we conduct a Combined Systems Test on the ground as well as a test flight near Armstrong before the instruments and aircraft are ready to transit” explained Vasques. Checking the performance of the instruments over that long distance while they were at a NASA center was critical to ensure they would operate correctly while in-flight over Atlantic hurricanes.
Now that the first Global Hawk is at Wallops, the mission will investigate any significant disturbances that might develop in the western Atlantic. The HS3 mission will investigate disturbances before they become depressions to examine how a storm forms. The mission is also looking for conditions that favor (or promote) rapid intensification of tropical cyclones.
"Twice a day we hold weather briefings looking for storms or disturbances that could become storms," said Scott Braun, HS3 Principal Investigator from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, working at Wallops during the mission. "We evaluate the targets in terms of our science objectives and determine which one best addresses those objectives. We factor in stage of the life cycle of the storm, likelihood of formation or intensification, interaction with the Saharan Air Layer, among other things."
During the mission period, the Global Hawks will be operated from Wallops where they will depart and fly over tropical cyclones in the Atlantic, analyzing the storms with six scientific instruments. The East Coast NASA location makes accessing Atlantic tropical cyclones easier and allows for more science data collection than if they were to fly from the West Coast. Each aircraft has an 11,000-nautical-mile range and can fly for up to 26 hours.
One Global Hawk will carry three instruments to examine the environment around the storms, including the Scanning High-resolution Interferometer Sounder (S-HIS), the Advanced Vertical Atmospheric Profiling System (AVAPS), also known as dropsondes, and the Cloud Physics Lidar (CPL).
The second Global Hawk will focus on the inner region of the storms to measure wind and precipitation, surface winds, and atmospheric temperature and humidity. It will carry the High-Altitude Imaging Wind and Rain Airborne Profiler (HIWRAP) conically scanning Doppler radar, the Hurricane Imaging Radiometer (HIRAD), and the High-Altitude Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit Sounding Radiometer (HAMSR) microwave sounder.
The HS3 mission is funded by NASA Headquarters and overseen by NASA's Earth System Science Pathfinder Program at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Itis one of five large airborne campaigns operating under the Earth Venture program.
The HS3 mission also involves collaborations with partners including the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, Naval Postgraduate School, Naval Research Laboratory, NOAA's Unmanned Aircraft System Program, Hurricane Research Division and Earth System Research Laboratory, Northrop Grumman Space Technology, National Center for Atmospheric Research, State University of New York at Albany, University of Maryland - Baltimore County, University of Wisconsin, and University of Utah. The HS3 mission is managed by the Earth Science Project Office at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California.
For more information about NASA's HS3 mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/hs3
For more information about an HS3 sonde, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/what-the-heck-is-a-dropsonde/#
Rob Gutro | Eurek Alert!
CO2 can be stored underground for 10 times the length needed to avoid climatic impact
28.07.2016 | University of Cambridge
Keep a lid on it: Utah State University geologists probe geological carbon storage
28.07.2016 | Utah State University
Transparent electronics devices are present in today’s thin film displays, solar cells, and touchscreens. The future will bring flexible versions of such devices. Their production requires printable materials that are transparent and remain highly conductive even when deformed. Researchers at INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials have combined a new self-assembling nano ink with an imprint process to create flexible conductive grids with a resolution below one micrometer.
To print the grids, an ink of gold nanowires is applied to a substrate. A structured stamp is pressed on the substrate and forces the ink into a pattern. “The...
A new Fraunhofer MEVIS method conveys medical interrelationships quickly and intuitively with innovative visualization technology
On the monitor, a brain spins slowly and can be examined from every angle. Suddenly, some sections start glowing, first on the side and then the entire back of...
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Ames Laboratory have discovered an unusual property of purple bronze that may point to new ways to achieve high temperature superconductivity.
While studying purple bronze, a molybdenum oxide, researchers discovered an unconventional charge density wave on its surface.
Munich Physicists have developed a novel electron microscope that can visualize electromagnetic fields oscillating at frequencies of billions of cycles per second.
Temporally varying electromagnetic fields are the driving force behind the whole of electronics. Their polarities can change at mind-bogglingly fast rates, and...
Breakup of continents with two speed: Continents initially stretch very slowly along the future splitting zone, but then move apart very quickly before the onset of rupture. The final speed can be up to 20 times faster than in the first, slow extension phase.phases
Present-day continents were shaped hundreds of millions of years ago as the supercontinent Pangaea broke apart. Derived from Pangaea’s main fragments Gondwana...
29.07.2016 | Event News
15.07.2016 | Event News
15.07.2016 | Event News
29.07.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
29.07.2016 | Life Sciences
29.07.2016 | Event News