Students from the Palmdale Aerospace Academy in Palmdale, Calif., got a first-hand look at NASA's two autonomously operated Global Hawk science aircraft during their field trip to NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center for a lesson on ATTREX environmental science field campaign. (NASA / Jhony Zavaleta) › View Larger Image
Research engineer Bruce Daube of Harvard University explains how integrating and on-aircraft testing of the Harvard University Picarro Ring Down Cavity Spectrophotometer (HUPCRS) instrument flown on the Global Hawk helps ensure valid data collection during the ATTREX mission to Palmdale Aerospace Academy students. (NASA / Jhony Zavaleta) › View Larger Image
David Fratello of Zel Technologies describes how scientists monitor their instruments and experiments being flown on a mission to students in the Global Hawk Operations Center at NASA Dryden. (NASA / Jhony Zavaleta) › View Larger Image Middle schools students from the Palmdale Aerospace Academy got up close and personal with a NASA airborne science mission that is investigating Earth's atmosphere and climate during a recent tour of the agency's Global Hawk Operations Center and hangar at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards, Calif.
About 75 middle schoolers explored how NASA utilizes unmanned aircraft and 21st century technology to investigate the Earth's atmosphere and climate and learned how scientists monitor their instruments during the Airborne Tropical TRopopause EXperiment (ATTREX) mission flight campaign that began in January and was scheduled to conclude in mid-March, 2013.
ATTREX project manager Dave Jordan from NASA's Ames Research Center near San Jose, Calif., and David Fahey, a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, briefed the students on the complex preparations for the mission as well as what the scientists hope to learn from the data collected.
Mission scientists detailed features of several of the unique atmospheric sampling instruments flown aboard NASA's autonomously operated Global Hawk during lengthy flights over the Pacific Ocean to the students during their visit.
The Palmdale Aerospace Academy is a college-preparatory charter school in Palmdale, Calif., and focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, skills that are required for careers in the aerospace industry. The school, which began classes in 2012, is operated by a partnership between the Palmdale School District, the City of Palmdale, the Aerospace Education, Research and Operations (AERO) Institute and several other institutions. The AERO Institute is a collaborative partnership between NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, the California Space Grant Foundation and the City of Palmdale.
This composite image shows the flight track of NASA's Global Hawk heading back to California during the fifth flight over the Pacific Ocean in the ATTREX mission. (NASA / Google Maps) › View Larger Image