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P-3 Orion 11/26/13 - 11/27/13

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Flight Number: 
Science Flight #5: Dome C: Vostok
Payload Configuration: 
Operation IceBridge
Nav Data Collected: 
Total Flight Time: 
8.2 hours
Flight Segments: 
Start:11/26/13 19:41 Z Finish:11/27/13 03:51 Z
Flight Time:8.2 hours
Log Number:14P003PI:Michael Studinger
Funding Source:Bruce Tagg - NASA - SMD - ESD Airborne Science Program
Purpose of Flight:Science
Flight Hour Summary: 
Flight Hours Approved in SOFRS230
Total Used128.2
Total Remaining101.8
14P003 Flight Reports
Date Flt # Purpose of Flight Duration Running Total Hours Remaining Miles Flown
11/06/13OIB ECFCheck1.51.5228.5
11/08/13OIB PCF #1Check3.14.6225.4
11/08/13OIB PCF #2Check3.78.3221.7
11/12/13 - 11/13/131715Transit8.824.5205.5
11/13/13 - 11/14/131716Transit8.132.6197.4
11/14/13 - 11/15/131717Transit6.839.4190.6
11/15/13 - 11/16/131718Transit6.746.1183.9
11/17/13 - 11/18/13McMurdo Check FlightCheck4.350.4179.6
11/18/13 - 11/19/13Science Flight #1: TAM WestScience7.858.2171.8
11/19/13 - 11/20/13Science Flight #2: Victoria 01Science8.366.5163.5
11/20/13 - 11/21/13Science Flight #3: Sea Ice Ross FluxgateScience7.373.8156.2
11/25/13 - 11/26/13Science Flight #4: Siple Coast 03Science8.782.5147.5
11/26/13 - 11/27/13Science Flight #5: Dome C: VostokScience8.290.7139.3
11/27/13 - 11/28/13Transit #1: NZIR-NZCHTransit8.899.5130.5
11/28/13 - 11/29/13Transit #2: NZCH-NSTUTransit6.3105.8124.2
11/29/13 - 11/30/13Transit #3: NSTU-HawaiiTransit7.4113.2116.8
12/01/13Transit #3: Hawaii - Mountain View, CATransit7.1120.3109.7
12/02/13Transit #3: California - WFFTransit6.5126.8103.2
12/11/13ATM Post Mission Cal FlightCheck1.4128.2101.8

Flight Reports began being entered into this system as of 2012 flights. If there were flights flown under an earlier log number the flight reports are not available online.

Related Science Report: 

OIB - P-3 Orion 11/26/13 - 11/27/13 Science Report

Mission Summary: 

F05 Dome C - Vostok and ICESat-2 cal/val


  • Low-altitude survey (1,500 ft AGL) over East Antarctica and the ICESat-2 cal/val site in the Transantarctic Mountains.
  • ATM, snow, Ku-band, accumulation, MCoRDS and DMS were operated on the survey lines.
  • Gravimeter and magnetometer data collected over entire flight.
  • Satellite Tracks: ICESat-2 orbits.
  • Repeat Mission: none.


Instrument Operated Data Volume Instrument Issues/Comments
ATM yes 35 GB None. ATM T3 failure at beginning of flight.
DMS yes 123 GB None. Primary system failed. 30 sec of data loss.
Snow Radar yes 326 GB None.
Ku-band Radar yes 326 GB None.
Accumulation Radar yes 162 GB None.
MCoRDS yes 2.2 TB None.
KT-19 yes 11 MB None. Exceeded -50°C specs.
Gravimeter yes 1.4 GB None.
Magnetometer yes 320 MB HF radio calls. Noise around Vostok Station


Mission Report (Michael Studinger, Mission Scientist)

The local weather was suitable again today for science flight number five and we went through our prioritized list of mission plans during the early morning weather brief in order to decide which mission with the highest priority has the best chance of successful data collection given the weather situations in the target areas. Even without the government shutdown we knew that sea ice missions would be a challenge because we are simply too late in the season. The delay caused by the government shutdown has made the situation worse. The eastern Ross Sea was clouded in today but two thirds of the sea ice off the coast of Oates Land from the Terra Nova mission plan looked clear. Likewise, the segments from McMurdo along the Transantarctic Mountains looked fairly clear, however, the satellite image showed mostly open water there. The strong southerly winds over the past couple of days have pushed much of the sea ice out of this area. All in all we would have gotten very little data over sea ice if we had flown this mission. In order or maximize data collection we decided to fly the Dome C – Vostok mission today and hope to get some opportunistic sea ice data on the transit home.

We started the flight with the ICESat-2 cal/val site in Barwick Valley in the Transantarctic Mountains. Unfortunately, the ATM T3 laser (narrow swath) failed shortly after takeoff and was declared dead. Luckily, the ATM T4 laser (wide swath) performed very well and recorded almost all of the returns over the cal/val site despite the high flight elevation and dark target site. Matt Linkswiler from ATM processed the data during the flight and it was very comforting to know on the plane that we have collected the necessary data for ICESat-2 cal/val despite the ATM T3 failure.

We turned towards the East Antarctic ice sheet, collecting data over subglacial lakes before we flew over the French-Italian Concordia Station and the drill site of the EPICA Dome C deep ice core. We continued along the ice divide towards subglacial Lake Vostok and turned towards the Russian base Vostok along a flowline that goes over the lake and through the legendary deep ice core 5G. The main goal was to connect the two deep ice cores at Dome C and Vostok with ice penetrating radar data in order to track internal layers (or isochrones) in the ice from one core site to another.

We continued our flight towards the Transantarctic Mountains connecting several ice core sites that have been drilled during the ITASE traverse. We also completed the 3rd out of three ICESat-2 cal/val tracks over the Transantarctic Mountains. Before landing we collected data over sea ice and flew over a corner reflector on a CryoSat-2 ground track that had been installed on sea ice in McMurdo Sound by colleagues from the New Zealand Antarctic Program a few days ago. We will use the data to validate the snow and Ku-band radar data over sea ice. We also did a pass over the ATM ground calibrations site over Black Island and a ramp pass before landing.

Data collection started 11/26/2013 19:51 UTC and ended at 11/27/2013 03:45 UTC. In total we collected 7.9 hours of science data.


Today's mission plan and P-3 trajectory.

Data collection over ICESat-2 cal/val site in TAM

DMS image of Vostok Station

Wright Valley and Labyrinth in the Transantarctic Mountains

Transantarctic Mountains