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Media Invited to NASA ER-2 Aircraft at Offutt AFB for MC3E Mission
OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. – One of NASA’s two ER-2 High Altitude Airborne Science Aircraft has taken up temporary residence here while participating in a six-week Mid-Latitude Continental Convective Clouds Experiment (MC3E) that will provide pre-launch science research for the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission to be launched by NASA and the Japanese space agency in 2013.

Media are invited to meet members of the NASA team and get a static tour of the aircraft on Monday, May 2 at 10 a.m. CDT.

Roughly 25 NASA personnel including flight and ground crew, life support and scientific instrument technicians arrived early this week and began flying missions to examine convective cloud systems over the Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement site near Ponca City, Okla.

This ER-2 platform, based out of NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., contains several instruments to help in the MC3E field campaign, including an advanced microwave precipitation radiometer, a conical scanning microwave imaging radiometer and a high-altitude imaging wind and rain airborne profiler.

One of the scientists on the MC3E campaign, Walt Peterson, grew up here on base and is a graduate of Bellevue High School. He’s the NASA Global Precipitation Measurement Lead-Scientist for the campaign, and principal investigator on the Advanced Microwave Precipitation Radiometer, which is a total power scanning multi-frequency radiometer.

NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement mission is one of several next generation satellite-based Earth science missions that will study global precipitation -- rain, snow and hail. The NASA ER-2 aircraft and support personnel will continue to operate out of Offutt until its mission is complete on June. 4.

For further information about the ER-2 aircraft contact: Beth Hagenauer, NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., Tel. 661-276-7960,

NOTE TO MEDIA: Media please RSVP to the 55th Wing Public Affairs office at 402-294-3663 by 4 p.m. CDT on Friday, April 29, 2011.

For more information about the Global Precipitation Measurement mission, visit:
Goddard Release No. 11-029

Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Kim Newton
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.