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NASA’s DC-8 Returns to Flight

DC-8 lifts off from Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, Calif., at sunset.
DC-8 lifts off from Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, at sunset.
NASA/Carla Thomas

NASA’s DC-8 aircraft returned to the skies on Jan. 6 after more than a year of maintenance, which included an overhaul to all four engines.

NASA operates the highly-modified Douglas DC-8 as a flying science laboratory in support of the agency’s Airborne Science program. On Monday, Jan. 18, the aircraft departed for San Antonio, Texas, where it will remain for planned periodic depot maintenance over several months.

Following its stay in Texas, the DC-8 will begin instrument upload in preparation for the Convective Processes Experiment – Aerosols & Winds campaign, or CPEX-AW for short. The CPEX-AW campaign, a joint effort between NASA and the European Space Agency, includes a 45-day deployment, targeted for July.

NASA’s DC-8, based at the agency’s Armstrong Flight Research Center Building 703 in Palmdale, California, is flown to collect data for experiments in support of projects serving the world’s scientific community.