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HU-25C Falcon 07/16/13

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Flight Number: 
Payload Configuration: 
Goddard Ball Spectrometer
Nav Data Collected: 
Total Flight Time: 
2.7 hours
Flight Segments: 
Start:07/16/13 18:50 Z Finish:07/16/13 21:30 Z
Flight Time:2.7 hours
Log Number:13F001PI:James Leitch
Funding Source:Parminder Ghuman - NASA - SMD - ESD ESTO - IIP Program Manager
Purpose of Flight:Science
Comments:Initial ICF for the GEO TASO instrument installed in the Langley HU-25C. Flight Crew was Greg Slover, Les Kagey, and Mike Wusk from LaRC and Thomas Delker, Shaun Ashby, and Jeremy Craner from Ball Aerospace. The following was a email summary of the flight from Thomas Delker. Today we completed the final flight review at 10 am, and GeoTASO was issued a flight safety release. We meet in the flight briefing room at 1.30, and were in the air by 2.20. We were in the air for 2.75 hours, during which time we exercised the instrument as we would during a normal flight campaign, operating all modes, including zenith looks, PEM depolarizers on and off, shuttered darks, and normal flight line data collects. The instrument performed nominal and we collected about 500G of data. The flight conditions were not optimal for science data collections, with broken clouds in the area including in a number of the flight lines. However, the main goal of instrument check out and aircraft EMI/EMC was completed without any liens. Although the data will need to be review more carefully, initial quick-looks showed darks with lab noise levels and scene signal levels as expected: clouds saturating, and reasonable signal levels over darker scenes, including water and forest. The data is currently being backed up and I will send some snap shots out with tomorrow’s update. After exiting the aircraft we were told we would not be able to fly in the morning, as we had hoped, as DAWN (wind lidar) is flying and has priority over us. If the weather is similar in the afternoon, we will not fly tomorrow, but rather wait until the next day so we can use our limited flight hours collecting the best data set for the science team to chew on. We asked the flight team to make us aware earlier of potential constraints on flight times in order to plan mitigations. Operational Details: Prior to rollout/refuel, the aircraft was on hanger power with an air conditioner cart blowing cool air in to the cabin, and the instrument was cooled to operating temperatures via the coolant loops (25C internal thermistor temperatures). It was removed from hanger power at 1 pm. The instrument warmed by less than 1C during the time it was off power (~1.5 hours), although the environment had warmed to 29C in the aircraft. With air conditioning running in the aircraft before takeoff and a small purge, we were easily able to keep the internal humidity to below 60%. I hope that all future ops will be done similar to this – air condition or at least dehumidify the cabin, cool the instrument to flight temperatures while monitoring humidity levels for 1-2 hours before roll out/refuel, then start up as soon as possible after engine start. This will help mitigate any possible thermal drifts in the data. This is a very conservative approach, as we expect to have a very weak thermal effect given our athermal design and thermal management implementation, however, until the data has been analyzed and we have a performance vs temperature curve, better to be conservative. We did use the better part of our purge bottle up, but we should have a full tank ready for the next flight. We had one instrument anomaly where we lost communication with the PEM depolarizers, but recovered in under 5 minutes. We are investigating the cause in order to make mission operations more robust. We also took a number of actions to improve flight operations for the science campaign in the fall. I did have to clean the window post flight with alcohol as we flew through a cloud on our approach back and we saw noticeable droplets after that. On inspection in the hanger there was clearly an oily residue that was easily removed, most likely from the blowback of hydraulic sweeps migrating with the moisture of the cloud, although it might be that we will have to clean the window after every sortie. It was fairly fast and easy. Thomas Delker Principal Engineer, Optics Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.
Flight Hour Summary: 
Flight Hours Approved in SOFRS28
Total Used31.9
Total Remaining-3.9
13F001 Flight Reports
Date Flt # Purpose of Flight Duration Running Total Hours Remaining Miles Flown
07/16/13GEO TASO ICF 1Science2.72.725.3
07/18/13GEO TASO Engineering Check Flight 2Science2.85.522.5
07/19/13GEO TASO Engineering Check Flight 3Science2.98.419.6
09/12/13GEO TASO Deployment FlightScience3.211.616.4
09/13/13GEO TASO Research Flight #1Science3.314.913.1
09/14/13GEO TASO Research Flight #2Science317.910.1
09/16/13GEO TASO Research Flight #3Science3.521.46.6
09/17/13GEO TASO Research Flight #4Science2.123.54.5
09/18/13GEO TASO Research Flight #5Science3.326.81.2
09/24/13GEO TASO Return Flight #1Science2.429.2-1.2
09/24/13GEO TASO Return Flight #2Science2.731.9-3.9

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