PROGRAM TITLE: 	Airborne Science Program
ACTIVITY STREAMS: 	Observations and Data Management, and 
Process Studies
SCIENCE ELEMENT:	Climate and Hydrologic Systems
				Biogeochemical Dynamics
				Ecological Systems and Dynamics
				Earth System History
				Solid Earth Processes
				Global Observing Systems


SCIENTIFIC MERIT:   The Airborne Science Program is a cross-cutting 
activity within the Science Division of the Office Mission to Planet 
Earth (OMTPE). As such, it supports all science branches by providing 
airborne platforms specifically equipped or modified to carry specific 
instrument payloads to conduct atmospheric, biospheric, lithospheric 
or cryospheric research. Platforms are one of a kind and thereby 
represent unique research facilities (ER-2s and a highly modified DC-
8-72 and C-130B aircraft). After instruments, whether core, facility 
or PI provided, are integrated into the aircraft and successful 
engineering check flights conducted, the aircraft is certified for 
science flights.  These airborne facilities also support other divisions 
within OMTPE, and other Offices within NASA (e.g., Space Physics). 
Without the airborne assets many science programs could not 
conduct field campaigns or provide instrument prototype or 
algorithm development for U.S. Global Change Research programs, 
and in particular those that involve the Earth Observing System 
The airborne assets are also made available to other Federal agencies 
on a cost-reimbursable and non-interference basis with NASA-
funded programs. Recently the Airborne Science Program assets have 
supported the National Science Foundation, the National 
Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of 
Defense and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
In a typical year the aircraft fly 1,300-1,600 science research hours, 
and accumulate 450-550 deployment days per year, with the 
majority of these foreign deployments.
A sample of the research campaigns for which the airborne assets 
have been a critical element follow (the majority of these represent 
interagency and international campaigns):
-- Antarctic and Arctic Ozone:  to investigate ozone hole vortex 
dynamics and support interagency and international atmospheric 
chemistry programs (ER-2 and DC-8);
-- SPADE:   Stratospheric Photochemical Detection Experiment under 
the NASA High Speed Research Program; ER-2 aircraft research the 
environmental effects of stratospheric air traffic by providing data 
necessary for the environmental impact assessment;
-- GTE:   Global Tropospheric Experiment; a series of international 
campaigns, typically conducted biannually, to investigate natural 
processes that regulate atmospheric chemistry and how those 
processes are being perturbed by human activities and at what rates. 
A systematic study of biological sources of atmospheric chemicals, 
global distributions and long-range transport of chemical species, and 
reactions in the tropsphere that lead to the conversion, redistribution 
and removal of atmospheric chemicals (DC-8);
-- ESTAR:   The Electronically Scanned Thin-Array Radiometer, a 
unique array of receivers which provides fine resolution of soil 
moisture measurements, critical for understanding the water cycle 
-- BOREAS:   an international campaign which will provide airborne 
measurements to help bridge the gap between surface 
measurements and small scale satellite and meteorological 
observations.  A land surface climatology experiment to provide 
improved understanding of the energy balance in the forest canopy 
structure, biochemical, and biophysical properties, and soil moisture 
conditions (C-130, ER-2 and DC-8);
-- TOGA/COARE:  The Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere/Coupled 
Ocean-Atmosphere Response Experiment investigated the boundary 
layer, mesoscale cloud precipitation physics and phenomena 
associated with the ocean-atmosphere and the interaction between 
them in the warm pool region of the western Pacific Ocean (ER-2 and 
-- SCAR:  The Smoke, Clouds and Radiation Measurement 
international experiment, to be conducted in low latitudes (Brazil) to 
measure interaction between naturally occurring and perturbed 
environments and the interrelationship to solar radiation (ER-2);
-- LASE:  Lidar Atmosphere Sensing Experiment; an airborne tunable 
lidar to measure atmospheric water vapor (ER-2);
-- SIR-C:  Shuttle Imaging Radar-C; numerous underflights sites for 
the SIR-C, experiments in data calibration, algorithm development 
and related data sets (DC-8).
-- Australia/AIRSAR:  Airborne Synthetic Aperture Radar, an 
international campaign to investigate the role of soils in the global 
carbon cycle, geomorphology, geology and hydrology in Australia in 
preparation for SIR-C/X-SAR shuttle overflights (DC-8).
-- EOS:  a large number of individual and coordinated flights 
conducted in support of the EOS project (DC-8, ER-2, C-130).
While by no means inclusive of the variety of campaigns conducted 
by the airborne campaign, they do give a fair representation of them.
STAKEHOLDERS:   The program, because of its support to all science 
branches, is tightly coupled to research campaigns of the interagency 
(CEES) and international organizations.
POLICY RELEVANCE:	Primary 	- Stratospheric Ozone
						- Atmospheric Chemistry
						- Biodiversity
						- Forests and Deforestation
						- Climate Change
				Secondary 	- Solid Earth (geology, soils) 
						- International cooperation 
						- Global Observations Systems 	
						(technology/algorithm verification 
						and validation)
				Office of Mission to Planet Earth 
				NASA Headquarters, Code YS 
				Washington, DC 20546 
				tel: 202-358-0758 
				fax: 202-358-2771