NASA Airborne Science Program (PHOTOS / #NASASocial)

You may want to start with Part #1 of this series so that you have a sense of where we thought we were going with “NASA Airborne Science Program.” And for more on Twitter, #NASASocial.

AnnaCockpitWe spent all day yesterday at Dryden Flight Research Center for an insider’s look at NASA’s Airborne Science Program. We drove to Palmdale on Thursday and had dinner, yes, at Yard House. The next morning, we arrived at the designated parking lot in Palmdale shortly after 7:00 a.m. That’s pretty early for us to be fully functioning, but we boarded the bus with the rest of the social media crowd and were off to Edwards Air Force Base. After lunch, the bus returned us to the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility (DAOF, pronounced day off) for a full afternoon of talks and up-close time with aircraft.

We’re already drafting posts about different aspects of the program–specific aircraft, pilot flight suits, what scientists learn from aircraft-based data collection–but we start here with a photo overview.

The drive from Orange to Palmdale takes about two hours, depending on traffic, and it's a gorgeous meandering through the mountains.
The drive from Orange to Palmdale takes about two hours, depending on traffic, and it’s a gorgeous meandering through the mountains.
Anna at the entrance to Dryden's offices at Edwards, the same doors Capt. Anthony Nelson entered to go to work on I Dream of Jeannie.
Anna at the entrance to Dryden’s offices at Edwards, the same doors Capt. Anthony Nelson entered to go to work on I Dream of Jeannie.
We walked around the hangar where two unmanned Global Hawks were being worked on.
We walked around the hangar where two unmanned Global Hawks were being worked on.
Airborne Science Program logo on the side of the Global Hawk.
NASA Airborne Science Program logo on the side of the Global Hawk.
FOD sign in the hangar. FOD means "foreign object debris" or "foreign object damage." Even a small screw on the ground can get sucked into an engine and cause damage.
FOD sign in the hangar. FOD means “foreign object debris” or “foreign object damage.” Even a small screw on the ground can get sucked into an engine and cause damage.
NASA has a modified F-15 that tests aircraft systems.
NASA has a modified F-15 that tests aircraft systems.
Back in Palmdale, here's what folks are working on at DAOF.
Back in Palmdale, here’s what folks are working on at DAOF.
NASA's C-20 for airborne science research on the Earth's surfaces.
NASA’s C-20 for airborne science research on the Earth’s surfaces.
Aircraft are chockfull of science equipment for airborne data collection.
Aircraft are chockfull of science equipment for airborne data collection.
The ER-2, NASA's very high-flying version of the Air Force's U-2.
The ER-2, NASA’s very high-flying version of the Air Force’s U-2.
Danger is everywhere!
Danger is everywhere! And we’re there, wearing safe shoes.
NASA's Josh Graham showed us the high-altitude flight suit that pilots wear, and we're planning a whole post about this topic.
NASA’s Josh Graham showed us the high-altitude flight suit that pilots wear, and we’re planning a whole post about this topic.
NASA's DC-8, every aircraft properly labeled.
Doug with NASA’s DC-8, every aircraft properly labeled.
DC-8: Engine Close-Up
DC-8: Engine Close-Up
Two nights in Palmdale means two dinners at Yard House. That's gardein buffalo wings, an ahi poke bowl, and a Lagunitas IPA.
Two nights in Palmdale means two dinners at Yard House: gardein buffalo wings, an ahi poke bowl, and a Lagunitas IPA.

Read the next installment about NASA’s Airborne Science Program HERE.

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