NASA's Global Hawk No. 872 banks for landing over Rogers Dry Lake on Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on its first checkout flight Oct. 23. Mission controllers at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center checked out a wide range of functional operating systems, communications and data links during the four-hour flight, which reached an altitude over 61,000 feet. The autonomously operated unmanned aircraft took to the air on a second test mission, also scheduled for four hours, on Thursday, Oct. 29. The aircraft, one of two Global Hawks in NASA's fleet, is being prepared for its first science campaign, the Global Hawk Pacific mission, now scheduled for early 2010.
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