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Earth Science Division Highlights for week ending Oct. 18, 2006.

WRAP update:

The WRAP Western States UAS Fire Mission Team completed a highly successful, long-duration flight mission on the Altair UAS platform, October 12-13. The Altair operated for 21-hours during the mission within the Dryden Range and closed airspace in Southern California. The AMS-Wildfire instrument (designed and built by the Airborne Science and Technology Lab) operated continuously for the mission duration. [See related highlight below.] The aircraft and system were flown at 43,000 ft. altitude with two spiral descends to 20,000 ft. altitude for in-situ atmospheric sampling. A total of 116 thermal and IR image data sets were sent, real-time from the sensor to the Collaborative Decision Environment (CDE) and displayed for use by the science team. Data were transmitted completely terrain- and geo-rectified within 5-minutes of data capture and available on the web, including 3-D viewing and "fly-through" visualization. A real-time web-feed of the on-board tracking video camera was also demonstrated. This camera data will facilitate UAS tracking over real-time fire events, ensuring proper data capture over intense components of the fire.

A further flight into the NAS is planned for the week of 16 October. That mission will encompass a flight profile over Yosemite National Park. The mission is contingent upon a Certificate of Authorization (COA) being issued by the FAA. (POC: Vince Ambrosia, 4-6565)

ASTL sensor operates successfully during WRAP flight mission:

The AMS sensor from the Ames/UARC Airborne Science and Technology Lab performed nominally during the 21-hour Altair UAS mission. Approximately 30 Gigabytes of infrared imagery were acquired and processed on-board the aircraft, and then transmitted to the ground station via the Ku-Band telemetry system. On two occasions during the mission, the sensor was dynamically re-configured by Ames engineers using the satellite up-link, to successfully correct hardware anomalies as they occurred (primarily due to the extremely low temperatures in the instrument pod.) (POC: Jeff Myers, 4-3598)

ARGUS instrument operates successfully during WRAP flight mission:

The NASA Ames Argus instrument deployed on the General Atomics Altair UAV for a 21 hour flight as part of the WRAP program, Oct. 12. The flight was carried out entirely within restricted airspace over Edwards Air Force Base and over the General Atomics Gray Butte Flight Facility. Instruments onboard Altair aquired vertical profiles of carbon monoxide, ozone, water and several other species during this flight. Profiles were timed to coordinate with Aura satellite overpasses and with lidar profiles of ozone and water taken from nearby Table Mountain.

The Argus instrument functioned flawlessly throughout the flight and returned quality vertical profiles of carbon monoxide for comparison with the TES instrument’s measurements from the Aura satellite. (POC: Max Loewenstein, 4-5504)

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Last Updated: October 17, 2006
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