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Synonyms: 
WB-57
WB57
Associated content: 

O3 Photometer (NOAA)

Ozone (O3) in the lower stratosphere (LS) is responsible for absorbing much of the biologically damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sunlight, and thus plays a critical role in protecting Earth's environment. By absorbing UV light, O3 heats the surrounding air, leading to the vertical stratification and dynamic stability that define the stratosphere. Manmade halogen compounds, such as CFCs, cause significant damage to the O3 layer in the LS and lead to the formation of the Antarctic ozone hole. Accurate measurement of O3 in the LS is the first step toward understanding and protecting stratospheric O3. The Ozone Photometer was designed specifically for autonomous, precise, and accurate O3 measurements in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UT/LS). Flown for thousands of hours onboard the NASA ER-2, NASA WB-57, and NSF GV high-altitude aircraft, this instrument has played a key role in improving our understanding of O3 photochemistry in the UT/LS. Furthermore, its accurate data has been used, and continues to be highly sought after, for satellite validation, and studies of radiation balance, stratosphere-troposphere exchange, and air parcel mixing. Contacts: Ru-Shan Gao, David Fahey, Troy Thornberry, Laurel Watts, Steve Ciciora

Instrument Type: 
Measurements: 
Aircraft: 
Gulfstream V - NSF, WB-57 - JSC, Global Hawk - AFRC
Point(s) of Contact: 

Small Ice Detector

Instrument Type: 
Aircraft: 
C-130H - WFF, DC-8 - AFRC, Gulfstream V - NSF, WB-57 - JSC
Point(s) of Contact: 

Fast In-situ Stratospheric Hygrometer

The Fast In situ Stratospheric Hygrometer (FISH), developed at the Forschungszentrum Jülich (Germany), is based on the Lyman-a photofragment fluorescence technique. Details of the instrument and the calibration procedure are described in Zöger et al. [1999]. FISH has been used in several campaigns both from balloon and aircraft and compared with a large number of other hygrometers [Kley et al., 2000].

FISH consists of a closed, vacuum-tight fluorescence cell, a Lyman-a radiation source, a PMT in photon-counting mode, detectors to monitor the VUV radiation output of the Lyman-a lamp, and a mirror drive that controls the measuring cycle (see diagram): determination of the fluorescence and background count rate and of the lamp intensity. With a measurement frequency of 1 Hz, the noise equivalent mixing ratio at 3 ppmv is 0.2-0.15 ppmv, and the detection limit is 0.18-0.13 ppmv.

FISH is calibrated between flights in the laboratory using a calibration bench under realistic conditions, that is varying the H2O mixing ratio of the test air from a few ppmv to several hundred ppmv and the pressure from 1000 to 10 hPa. A frost point hygrometer is used as a reference instrument. The overall accuracy of FISH measurements is 5-6 %.

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O3 Photometer - UAS (NOAA)

Ozone (O3) in the lower stratosphere (LS) is responsible for absorbing much of the biologically damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sunlight, and thus plays a critical role in protecting Earth's environment. By absorbing UV light, O3 heats the surrounding air, leading to the vertical stratification and dynamic stability that define the stratosphere. Manmade halogen compounds, such as CFCs, cause significant damage to the O3 layer in the LS and lead to the formation of the Antarctic ozone hole. Accurate measurement of O3 in the LS is the first step toward understanding and protecting stratospheric O3. The UAS Ozone Photometer was designed specifically for autonomous, precise, and accurate O3 measurements in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UT/LS) onboard the NASA Global Hawk Unmanned Aircraft System (GH UAS). With a data rate of 2 Hz, the instrument can provide high-time-resolution, detailed information for studies of O3 photochemistry, radiation balance, stratosphere-troposphere exchange, and air parcel mixing in the UT/LS. Furthermore, its accurate data are used for satellite validations. The quality of the data produced by the UAS Ozone Photometer, combined with the long range and endurance of the GH UAS, make it particularly valuable for satellite measurement validation. Contacts: Ru-Shan Gao, David Fahey, Troy Thornberry, Laurel Watts, Steve Ciciora

Instrument Type: 
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High Volume Precipitation Spectrometer

SPEC previously built the Version 1 and Version 2 HVPS probes that have now been discontinued due to obsolete parts and significant advances in technology. The HVPS-3 uses the same 128-photodiode array and electronics that are used in the 2D-S and 2D-128 probes. The optics are configured for 150 micron pixel resolution, resulting in a maximum field of view of 1.92 cm (i.e., particles up to 1.92 cm are completely imaged, although even larger particles can be sized in the direction of flight).

Sample volume of the HVPS-3 is 400 L s-1 at 100 m s-1. The 2D-S or 2D-128 and HVPS make an excellent pair of probes that completely image particles from 10 microns to 1.92 cm.

Point(s) of Contact: 

Cloud Droplet Probe

The Cloud Droplet Probe (CDP), manufactured by Droplet Measurement Technologies, measures the concentration and size distribution of cloud droplets in the size range from 2-50 µm. The instrument counts and sizes individual droplets by detecting pulses of light scattered from a laser beam in the near-forward direction, using a sample area of 0.24 mm2 or a sample rate of 48 cm3 at a flight speed of 200 m/s. The probe is mounted in an underwing canister and is designed to operate at up to 200 m/s; the G-V often exceeds this flight speed, but usually not in penetrations of clouds containing cloud droplets. Droplet sizes are accumulated in 30 bins with variable sizes, as specied in the header of the netCDF data files. Measurements are usually provided at a rate of 1 Hz in the standard data files but can be made available at 10 Hz in special high-rate processing. The instrument is similar to, and might be considered a high-speed replacement for, the Forward Scattering Spectrometer Probe. At high droplet concentration (> 500 cm-3), coincidence losses have been observed with this probe, and these are especially serious at G-V flight speeds. The probe is designed for cloud droplets, and its response to ice crystals is not intended to be quantitative; measurements in ice clouds should not be used except as qualitative indications of cloud.

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WB-57 - JSC

Current Status:
#926Inactive
#928Inactive
#927Inactive (Starting 01/01/21: SAMI Camera Flight Testing, Placeholder)

The NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas is the home of the NASA WB-57 High Altitude Research Program. Three fully operational WB-57 aircraft are based near JSC at Ellington Field. The aircraft have been flying research missions since the early 1970's, and continue to be an asset to the scientific community with professional, reliable, customer-oriented service designed to meet all scientific objectives.

The WB-57 is a mid-wing, long-range aircraft capable of operation for extended periods of time from sea level to altitudes in excess of 60,000 feet. Two crew members are positioned at separate tandem stations in the forward section of the fuselage. The pilot station contains all the essential equipment for flying the aircraft while the sensor equipment operator (SEO) station contains both navigational equipment and controls for the operation of the payloads that are located throughout the aircraft. The WB-57 can fly for approximately 6.5 hours, has a range of approximately 2500 miles, and can carry up to 8,800 lbs of payload.

Owner/Operator: 
NASA Johnson Space Center
Type: 
Conventional Aircraft
Duration: 
7 hours (payload and weather dependent)
Useful Payload: 
8 800 lbs
Gross Take-off Weight: 
72 000 lbs
Onboard Operators: 
2 (Pilot and SEO)
Max Altitude: 
60,000 ft and above (payload dependent)
Air Speed: 
410 knots
Range: 
2 500 Nmi
Power: 
110V/60Hz AC, 110V/400Hz AC, and 28 VDC
Point(s) of Contact: 

Peter Layshock

Work: (281) 244-1016

WB-57 Ascent Video Experiment

The WB-57 Ascent Video Experiment (WAVE) provides both ascent and entry imagery and enables better observation of the Shuttle on days of heavier cloud cover and areas obscured from ground cameras by the launch exhaust plume. WAVE comprises a 32-inch-ball turret system mounted on the nose of two WB-57 aircraft. The turret houses an optical bench, providing installation of both HDTV and infrared cameras. Optics consist of an 11-inch-diameter, 4.2 meter fixed-focal-length lens. The system can be operated in both auto track and manual modes.

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Methane Near IR Tunable Diode Laser Absorption Spectrometer

The tunable diode laser (TDL) absorption instrument consists of a very high resolution scanning near-infrared diode laser spectrometer. The laser diode is a 3 mW single-mode distributed feedback (DFB) InGaAsP/InP laser that is cooled and temperature stabilized via a Peltier cooler. The laser is scanned in frequency by varying the injection current linearly. The resulting frequency scan covers the entire CH4 R(3) ro-vibrational transition in the 2ν3 overtone band at 1.653 μm.

Because the line strengths are very weak for this overtone transition, the laser beam is multipassed through a custom designed low volume astigmatic Herriott cell yielding a total optical pathlength of 245 m. The transmitted light is detected by a dc-coupled InGaAsP detector and digitized by a custom 20-bit A/D converter. This ADC is synchronized to the 16-bit software generated laser scan waveform running in continuous DMA mode. The laser scans continuously over the methane absorption at a rate of 0.25 - 0.5 KHz and coadds typically 100 scans in a 2 second integration time.

By use of the Beer-Lambert law, the methane number density is calculated from the direct absorption measurements. This calculation is performed by a non-linear least squares Voigt fitting program. The program constraints include the measured cell temperature and pressure in addition to the known absorption line strengths and pressure broadening coefficients associated with the three transitions that make up the R(3) lineshape.

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Leica RC-30 metric camera

The RC-30 is an airborne film camera system, using color infrared, natural color and black and white film, to obtain high resolution earth imagery.

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