C-130H - WFF

The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s (GSFC) Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) Aircraft Office operates a NASA C-130H Hercules (N436NA) research/cargo aircraft to support airborne scientific research activities and movement of NASA cargo. The C-130H is used to perform scientific research, provide logistics support on an as-needed basis to other NASA missions, and can be used as a technology test bed for new airborne and satellite instrumentation. The aircraft is also available to support NASA range surveillance and recovery operations as needed. The C-130H is a self-sufficient aircraft that can operate from short field civilian and military airports to remote areas of the world in support of scientific studies and other operations.

The C-130H is a four-engine turboprop aircraft designed for maximum payload capacity. The C-130H, NASA 436, has been modified to support airborne science related activities as well. The aircraft has three 16 inch diameter nadir ports. Two 20x30 inch rectangular and four 10 inch diameter fuselage windows. A zenith port exist in the flight station for small instruments as well as sonobuoy/dropsonde tubes on the cargo ramp. An experimental power system is installed in the aircraft capable of producing 115VAC 60Hz, 400Hz and 28VDC. The aircraft also is capable of carrying 6 cargo pallets that can be utilized to carry cargo or modified to support instrument racks and seats. The large rear cargo door/ramp allows for easy installation of large instruments, payloads and cargo. The aircraft is equipment with external fuel tanks to increase range and duration. A cargo airdrop system is also installed in the aircraft to perform cargo drops from a variety of altitudes. 

The performance numbers presented below are based on a 20,000lb payload. Heavier payload may reduce aircraft range and duration.

The GSFC/WFF Aircraft Office is committed to providing safe, reliable, and cost effective platforms for airborne research and other flight activities.


NASA GSFC Wallops Flight Facility
Conventional Aircraft
10 hours (payload and weather dependent)
Useful Payload: 
36,000 lbs
Gross Take-off Weight: 
155,000 lbs
Onboard Operators: 
24 (dependent on aircraft configuration)
Max Altitude: 
25,000 ft.
Air Speed: 
320 knots
3,200 Nmi
115VAC 60Hz & 400Hz; 28VDC
Point(s) of Contact: 

Mike Cropper

Work: (757) 824-2140
Individual Aircraft Details: 

N436NA (NASA 436) based at Wallops Island, VA
  Year built: 1986
  Year entered ASP service: 2015