Press Release

Hawaii’s Hickam Air Force Base hosts NASA high-flying ER-2

By SpaceRef Editor
April 7, 2000
Filed under

Leslie Williams

NASA Dryden Flight Research Center

Phone: (661) 258-3893

1Lt. Amy Sufak

15th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Hickam AFB, Hawaii

Phone: (808) 449-6367


Hickam Air Force Base, Oahu, Hawaii, is hosting one of NASA’s Airborne
Science ER-2 research aircraft. The aircraft is one of two based at the
NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif. The April deployment
is the first in which Hickam will be the primary base of operations. The
ER-2 last flew science missions from Hickam in 1987. The aircraft’s last
photo/sensing mission to Hawaii was September 1992, when it conducted a
damage assessment after Hurricane Iniki.

For this campaign, the ER-2 carries two digital scanners and two film
cameras. The Airborne Visible and Infra-Red Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS)
instrument is a hyper-spectral scanner, which looks downward at the earth
simultaneously in 224 spectral bands or channels. Different spectral bands
can be used to study geology, agriculture, forestry, land use, atmospheric
composition or weather.

The second scanner is the MODIS Airborne Simulator. It is a multi-spectral
scanner whose spectral bands have been chosen to match those of a satellite
sensor, the MODerate resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS). The MODIS
launched last December on NASA’s Terra Satellite and will be used to study
the Earth’s global energy balance and contribute to climate change studies.
The instruments flying on the ER-2 will be used to calibrate and verify the
satellite’s data.

The data gathered by the ER-2’s instruments will be used to help map the
extent and distribution of coral reefs in the greater Hawaiian chain, to
study volcanic flows and gas plumes over Hawaii’s big island and track land
use changes in the eight largest islands. Weather permitting, flights will
occur daily for approximately three weeks.

The ER-2 aircraft typically flies at 65,000 feet. Most ER-2 missions last
about six hours with ranges of about 2,200 nautical miles. It is 63 feet
long, with a wingspan of 104 feet. Cruising speeds are 410 knots, or 467
miles per hour, at altitude. A single General Electric F-118 turbofan
engine powers the ER-2. It is capable of carrying a payload of instruments
or experiments: in a nose bay, the main equipment bay behind the cockpit,
two wing-mounted superpods, and small underbody and trailing edge pods.

– NASA –

SpaceRef staff editor.