Snapshot of activity inside NASA's first GRIP flight

Aug 20, 2010 by Rob Gutro
The GRIP mission's DC-8 payload. Credit: NASA

Scientists, graduate students and NASA flight crew came together and took part in the first flight of the DC-8 aircraft in NASA's Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes (GRIP) experiment on Tuesday, August 17, as it flew into the remnants of Tropical Depression Five over southern Louisiana. The inside of the aircraft buzzed with activity as they readied the various instruments for their first in-situ test.

GRIP is a NASA Earth science field experiment being conducted between August 15 and September 25 to better understand how tropical storms form and develop into major hurricanes. The NASA GRIP mission includes several NASA satellites, three aircraft and 14 different aircraft instruments. Nine of those instruments ride on the DC-8 aircraft.

The DC-8 departed at 11 a.m. EDT on August 17 from its base at the Fort Lauderdale, Fla. airport and headed west toward the remnants of Five along the Gulf Coast. The excitement was building as the DC-8 neared the remnant low pressure area. The scientists onboard were looking forward to gathering their first round of data.

During the , Errol Korn deployed a dropsonde experiment over the Gulf of Mexico during the flight as Janel Thomas, a University of Maryland Baltimore County graduate student looked on. Dropsondes or Dropwinsondes are fitted with receivers to measure the atmospheric state parameters (temperature, humidity, windspeed/direction, pressure) and location in 3 dimensional space during the sonde's descent once each half second. Measurements are transmitted to the aircraft from the time of release until impact with the ocean's surface.

Errol Korn, seated left, deploys a dropsonde experiment over the Gulf of Mexico during a flight aboard the NASA DC-8 as Janel Thomas, a University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) graduate student, and Bob Pasken look on. Credit: NASA/Paul E. Alers

In another part of the DC-8, Michael Kavaya, principal investigator for the DAWN experiment, from NASA's Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va., checked over data with Jeffrey Beyon also from NASA Langley. The DAWN experiment is also known as the Doppler Aerosol WINd lidar, DAWN will provide vertical profiles of components of 3-D wind in the region below the .

While many others attended to their instruments, meteorologists were checked the trajectory of weather patterns on a computer monitor during the flight.

After the first flight of the DC-8, the scientists and their new data headed back to base in Fort Lauderdale.

Explore further: Total lunar eclipse before dawn on April 4th

Related Stories

NASA to fly into hurricane research this summer

Jul 07, 2010

Three NASA aircraft will begin flights to study tropical cyclones on Aug. 15 during the agency's first major U.S.-based hurricane field campaign since 2001. The Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes ...

Into the Storms

Jul 13, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- For the first time in nine years, NASA and other federal agencies will use aircraft and satellites this summer to mount an intensive, U.S.-based study of how hurricanes are born and rapidly intensify, and ...

Birthplace of Hurricanes

Jul 27, 2006

"Winds will grow soon to storms in Africa," laments Irish singer Enya in her song, Storms in Africa. She might have added "And hurricanes in the Americas."

Lancets Flights Probe Supersonic Shockwaves

Jan 22, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA is concluding a series of flight tests to measure shock waves generated by an F-15 jet in an effort to validate computer models that could be used in designing quieter supersonic aircraft.

Recommended for you

Total lunar eclipse before dawn on April 4th

25 minutes ago

An unusually brief total eclipse of the Moon will be visible before dawn this Saturday, April 4th, from western North America. The eclipse happens on Saturday evening for Australia and East Asia.

Cassini: Return to Rhea

13 hours ago

After a couple of years in high-inclination orbits that limited its ability to encounter Saturn's moons, NASA's Cassini spacecraft returned to Saturn's equatorial plane in March 2015.

Comet dust—planet Mercury's 'invisible paint'

20 hours ago

A team of scientists has a new explanation for the planet Mercury's dark, barely reflective surface. In a paper published in Nature Geoscience, the researchers suggest that a steady dusting of carbon from p ...

It's 'full spin ahead' for NASA soil moisture mapper

23 hours ago

The 20-foot (6-meter) "golden lasso" reflector antenna atop NASA's new Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory is now ready to wrangle up high-resolution global soil moisture data, following the successful ...

What drives the solar cycle?

23 hours ago

You can be thankful that we bask in the glow of a relatively placid star. Currently about halfway along its 10 billion year career on the Main Sequence, our sun fuses hydrogen into helium in a battle against ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.