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Altair UAV Flies Lengthy Science Missions for NOAA
Altair flies along the California coast. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA concluded a joint series of environmental science demonstration flights with the Altair unmanned aerial vehicle in mid-November.

Image left: General Atomics' uninhabited Altair flew a NOAA/NASA coastal mapping, mammal observation and marine monitoring mission off the California coast in late 2005. (NASA photo by Carla Thomas)

During a flight on Nov. 16 over the Channel Islands off the Southern California coast, sensors on the aircraft gathered ocean color and atmospheric chemistry measurements and observed marine mammals and their environment. The flight also conducted low-tide coastal mapping and NOAA law enforcement surveillance of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

Altair flies over Rogers Dry Lake in California. An earlier mission the same week saw the Altair collect data on atmospheric chemistry at various altitudes, measure ocean color and search for atmospheric rivers during an 18.5-hour long-endurance flight off the California coast and several hundred miles out to sea.

Image right: Remotely-operated Altair soars over Rogers Dry Lake at Edwards Air Force Base during a NOAA/NASA earth science mission in November 2005. (NASA photo by Carla Thomas)

NASA coordinated use of Altair with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and provided mission management expertise to NOAA.

+ View NOAA news release
+ View more Altair photos
+ View Altair video

Alan Brown
NASA Dryden Public Affairs