NASA Using Northrop-Built Golden Hawk for Hurricane Missions

NASA environmental scientists will use the Northrop Grumman-built unmanned NASA Golden Hawks as part of a multi-year mission to study hurricane formation and how the storms change intensity.

“Global Hawk’s ability to fly as high as 65,000 feet for periods of up to 30 hours provides the science community the opportunity to explore remote areas of the Earth’s atmosphere,” said Scott Winship, vice president of advanced concepts in Northrop Grumman’s aerospace systems business.” Additionally, Global Hawk’s flexible and mature design allows for modifying the aircraft with varying scientific instruments for different types of science missions.”

Previous projects similar to this include a NASA Global Hawk that flew over the Pacific Ocean, operating over the Equator to the North Pole in 2010. Later that year the aircraft was used in hurricane surveillance missions, which provided extended coverage that monitored changes in hurricane intensity during five different storms in the southern Caribbean and western Atlantic.

In February and March 2011, NASA flew an atmospheric science payload suite on long duration Global Hawk flights over winter storms in the Pacific and Arctic.

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