ER-2 High-altitude Science Aircraft
NASA is using two ER-2 aircraft, a civil derivative of the military U-2S reconnaissance aircraft, on high-altitude science missions. The aircraft, based at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., collect information about our surroundings, including earth resources, celestial observations, atmospheric chemistry and dynamics, and oceanic processes. The aircraft also are used for electronic sensor research and development, satellite calibration, and satellite data validation.
Image above: NASA's ER-2 takes off from the airport in San Jose, Costa Rica to collect hurricane data during the Tropical Cloud Systems and Processes mission in July 2005.