Military Embedded Systems

Extension of NASA, Northrop Grumman Space Act Agreement continues use of Global Hawk for scientific research


May 31, 2013

Brandon Lewis

Technology Editor

Embedded Computing Design

Extension of NASA, Northrop Grumman Space Act Agreement continues use of Global Hawk for scientific research

SAN DIEGO. The NASA Dryden Flight Research Center and Northrop Grumman have agreed to extend the NASA Space Act Agreement, and will continue to cooperatively use the Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) for global science research. The Space Act Agreement allows for shared use and expense of NASA Global Hawks, and the recent extension will keep the partnership in place until April 30, 2018. Northrop Grumman-produced UAS will perform missions such as atmospheric research and hurricane surveillance and will also explore new mission capabilities.

The initial Space Act Agreement was signed on April 30, 2008, and commissioned two preproduction Global Hawk UASs as well as the building of a permanent Ground Control Station (GCS) at Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, CA. The extended range and high-altitude capabilities of the Global Hawk platform have since been leveraged by scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, and various universities.

"In the last five years, the Global Hawk has flown over the eye of hurricanes, examined the effects of greenhouse gasses, and conducted cutting-edge autonomous aerial refueling trials," says George Guerra, Vice President of the Global Hawk program for Northrop Grumman. "We are thrilled to continue our partnership with NASA and look forward to more scientific and technological breakthroughs in the next five years."

The Global Hawk’s 30-hour endurance and 65,000 foot altitude capabilities have enabled flights from the NASA Dryden facility to conduct nonstop research missions on areas as far as the North Pole.

"The Global Hawk is an invaluable asset and has changed the way we collect data and conduct Earth-science missions," says Chris Naftel, NASA Dryden Global Hawk project manager.



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