GRIP Mission Complete
The DC-8 and Global Hawk aircraft flew the final flights of NASA's Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes, or GRIP, mission during the first week of September, with flights over Tropical Storm Matthew. The six-week mission was a study of the formation and strengthening of tropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico and the western Atlantic Ocean.
The remotely operated Global Hawk landed at Dryden Sept. 24 after a more than 25-hour mission that included several data-collection passes over the developing storm system in the Gulf.
The four-engine DC-8 flying laboratory and its team of scientists concluded data-collection flights Sept. 22 with a 7.7-hour survey flight over the same general area, south of Hispaniola and north of Venezuela. The flight encompassed aerosol sampling and a coordinated data validation under the path of NASA's Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation and Cloudsat satellites.
The converted jetliner and its team of scientists, flight crew and support personnel have returned to the DC-8's home base at the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif. The DC-8 had been deployed to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., for the mission, though some of its flights were staged out of St. Croix, Virgin Islands.
Global Hawk flights in the mission were monitored and controlled from the Global Hawk operations center at Dryden.
A high-altitude WB-57 from Johnson Space Center, Houston, was also used for several GRIP campaign missions. In addition, aircraft from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Air Force were deployed in the campaign.
The trio of NASA environmental science aircraft flew more than 200 hours of data-collection flight time during the mission, the DC-8 amassing more than 140 flight hours during 25 flights since the campaign began in early August. The long-endurance, high-altitude Global Hawk flew several missions of more than 24 hours' duration during the campaign.
The missions included coordinated flights by the DC-8, Global Hawk and WB-57 over several hurricanes and tropical storms, including major hurricanes Earl and Karl.
The GRIP field experiment was managed at Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., with participation from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., Dryden, Johnson, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., and Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.