NASA's DC-8 airborne science laboratory has returned to its home base in Palmdale, Calif., after completing 13 data-collection flights over the past six weeks during NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement Cold-season Precipitation Experiment, or GCPEx, snow study over Ontario, Canada.
The converted jetliner returned to its home hangar at NASA's Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif., Feb. 25, after a six-hour flight from Bangor, Maine. The aircraft flew almost 80 hours during its 13 science flights in the mission."The GCPEx mission has been a real success," said Walter Petersen, the Global Precipitation Measurement ground validation scientist at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. "The majority of the mission objectives were accomplished, especially as they pertain to collecting a broad spectrum of snowfall, mixed phase, and even rain precipitation events.
"All indications are that the airborne and ground-based instruments worked very well, meaning we expect to have a robust set of data to analyze toward supporting the development of GPM falling-snow retrieval algorithms," Peterson added. The last science mission Feb. 24, was a 6.8-hour flight over a storm system in the Boston area, followed by multiple passes over the Environment Centre for Atmospheric Research Experiments, or CARE, location in Egbert, Ontario, and atmospheric convection over Lake Ontario. Data on various types of precipitation was collected by the two primary instruments used for this experiment, the APR-2 Airborne Precipitation Radar and the Conical Scanning Millimeter-wave Imaging Radiometer, or CoSMIR.