Gulfstream C-20A UAVSAR Science Aircraft
The Unmanned Air Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) is an Earth Science Capabilities Demonstration project jointly developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center in which a synthetic aperture radar is being flight-validated on a Grumman Gulfstream C-20A in a specially designed pod that will be interoperable with manned and unmanned aircraft. The modified C-20A, the military version of the Gulfstream III business aircraft, provides a platform to not only test and evaluate the new radar, but can also be used to gather scientific data for geological studies on earthquake prediction.
To support the installation of the UAVSAR pod, the C-20A airframe has been structurally modified to incorporate a MAU-12 ejector rack on the bottom of the fuselage. This unique modification will remain available for use by future research projects. As a Multi-Role Cooperative Research Platform, the heavily instrumented twin-turbofan aircraft provides long-term capability for efficient testing of subsonic flight experiments for NASA, the U.S. Air Force, other government agencies, academia, and private industry.
Originally flown by the Air Force, the aircraft was declared excess by that service and transferred to NASA Dryden at Edwards, CA, in September 2002. The joint use of this aircraft is a result of the NASA Armstrong/Edwards Air Force Base Alliance, which shares some resources as cost-cutting measures.
For more information on NASA's Airborne Science Program, visit http://airbornescience.nasa.gov/