The Lockheed ER-2 was developed for NASA to serve as a high-altitude scientific research aircraft. The aircraft has four large pressurized experiment compartments and a high capacity AC/DC electrical system, permitting a variety of payloads to be carried on a single mission. The modular design of the aircraft permits rapid installation or removal of payloads to meet changing mission requirements.
On a single flight, the ER-2 can carry a payload of up to 2710 pounds of science instruments. The ER-2 is capable of flight duration in excess of 10 hours, and can operate at altitudes above 70,000 feet. Range and duration are normally restricted due to pilot duty time limitations.
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