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GloPac Science - Overview

The NASA Global Hawk Pacific (GloPac) mission is the first Earth Science mission to be conducted on the NASA Global Hawks (GH). The Global Hawk UAS ability to autonomously fly long distances and remain aloft for extended periods, brings a whole new capability to the science community for measuring and observing large locations of the Earth.

The GloPac mission will integrate 11 specialized instruments onto the UAS to explore the trace gases, aerosols, and dynamics of the Upper Troposphere and Lower Stratosphere (UTLS) regions of the Earth's atmosphere. The science instrument payload on the GloPac mission include:

  • ACAM - Cross-track scanning UV-Vis spectrometer measuring NO2, O3, and aerosols
  • CPL - Backscatter LIDAR for hi-res profiling of clouds and aerosols
  • FCAS – Aerosol size and concentration measurements (0.07 - 1 μm)
  • HDVIS – Time-lapse nadir color digital imagery with night vision and georeferencing
  • MMS - Science quality aircraft variable measurements
  • MTP - Passive microwave radiometer measurements of O2 thermal emissions
  • NMASS - Aerosol concentrations measurements (4 - 60 nm)
  • Ozone – Dual-beam UV photometer for accurate 03 measurements
  • UCATS – Dual gas chromatographs for N2O, SF6, H2, CO, CH4, and CFC’s
  • UHSAS – Ultra-high sensitivity aerosol spectrometer (0.06 to 1 μm)
  • ULH – In-situ hi-accuracy atmospheric H2O vapor measurements

Proposed flights of the mission are conducted in support of the Aura Validation Experiment (AVE). The mission based from NASA Dryden Flight Research Center will encompass several flights over the entire Northern Pacific region and one flight to the Artic region.

The flights are designed to address various science objectives including:

1. Validation and scientific collaboration with NASA earth-monitoring satellite missions.
2. Observations of stratospheric trace gases in the UTLS from mid-latitudes to the tropics.
3. Measurements of dust, smoke, and pollution that cross the Pacific from Asia and Siberia.

GloPac is supported by the NASA Earth Science Division, Science Mission Directorate:

  • Randy Albertson, NASA Program Manager (Acting), Airborne Science Program
  • Ken Jucks, NASA Program Manager, Upper Atmosphere Research Program
  • Hal Maring, NASA Program Manager, Radiation Sciences Program

The GloPac mission will not only demonstrate the capability to the science community of all that can be accomplished with the assest of the Global Hawk but it will also be a risk reduction for all future NASA Earth Science missions. Government Agencies from around the world are all closely monitoring the mission as it develops.