NASA Aircraft Conducting Study Over DC and Baltimore

The NASA plane is conducting atmospheric field research on I-95 for the next 12 days

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Drivers on Interstate 95 could see a NASA airplane flying over the highway in July. The aircraft will be conducting atmospheric research between Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Hampton, Virginia for 12 days, NASA said in a release.

The aircraft will fly five days during the 12-day period at altitudes from 1,000 to 10,000 feet. The research is part of an atmospheric study in the Mid-Atlantic region, NASA said.

“Each flight during the campaign will include one low-level pass at 1,000 feet over I-95, two spiral tracks, ascending and descending, over Baltimore, and one spiral track over Greenbelt, Maryland,” NASA wrote in the release.

These flights are run by the Students Airborne Science Activation (SaSa) program which gives students hands-on experience in scientific research. The program also seeks to diversify researchers in Earth science and is working with undergraduate students from minority-serving institutions like Howard University and University of Maryland Baltimore County.  

According to NASA's Student Airborne Research program website, students will be researching “atmospheric gases, and/or to image land and water surfaces in multiple spectral bands.”

The study will use the P-3 aircraft based at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The P-3 aircraft carries instruments that collect date over urban, rural, vegetation and water surfaces.

The P-3 aircraft can be tracked in real time at the NASA Airborne Science Program Tracker and flight updates are available on the Wallops social media.

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