NASA Dryden uses an Altair to gather atmospheric data for the evaluation of ARGUS and UCATS science sensors. The Western States Fire Mission of 2006 carried the Autonomous Modular Sensor (AMS) that targeted fires in the Western United States. The maps are displayed using Google Earth. Altair was used in the NOAA 2005 Missions for the purpose of scientific investigation of the atmosphere.
Altair is 36 feet long and has a wingspan of 86 feet. Its designed maximum take-off weight is 7,500 pounds. The turbine powered Altair is designed to fly for 30 plus hours. Depending on the payload/fuel weight, the nominal payload capability of the Altair is 660 pounds (internal) or approximately 3,000 pounds (external). Missions have been flown at altitudes greater than 43,000 with duration greater than 18 plus hours.
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