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NASA ER-2 to Check Out MABEL Laser Altimeter
03.15.12
 
NASA's ER-2 Earth Resources aircraft No. 806 will be flying high-altitude missions over Greenland this spring to validate the accuracy of the newly developed Multiple Altimeter Beam Experiment Lidar. NASA's ER-2 Earth Resources aircraft No. 806 will be flying high-altitude missions over Greenland this spring to validate the accuracy of the newly developed Multiple Altimeter Beam Experiment Lidar. (NASA / Tony Landis)

The large air intakes for its powerful engine are obvious as NASA's high-flying ER-2 #806 Earth resources aircraft taxies out for another science mission. A NASA ER-2 Earth Resources aircraft based at NASA's Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif., will be flying a number of high-altitude missions over five weeks this spring to validate the accuracy of a new laser altimeter.

The high-flying ER-2 is scheduled to depart Palmdale on March 29 for a deployment base in Keflavik, Iceland, to test Goddard's Multiple Altimeter Beam Experiment Lidar, or MABEL, that simulates a similar instrument planned for NASA's IceSat-2 environmental satellite scheduled for launch in 2016.

Although not directly connected to the Spring 2012 Operation IceBridge Arctic polar ice survey, the ER-2 flights will be conducted concurrently with many of the same flight tracks being flown by IceBridge mission aircraft.

Operation IceBridge, conducted in the Arctic in March and April and the Antarctic during October and November, is the largest survey of Earth's polar ice ever flown. Although not participating in the Arctic study this spring, NASA's DC-8 flying science laboratory, also based in Palmdale, participates annually in the Antarctic study and has participated in the Arctic study in past years.

Learn more about the 2012 Operation IceBridge Arctic campaign at: