A former U.S. Coast Guard jet stationed at NASA’s Langley Research Center is currently flying its first NASA atmospheric mission, IceBridge, in Greenland.
Former Coast Guard HU-25C Guardian now flying for NASA. Video credit: NASA
The HU-25C Guardian is equivalent to a Falcon business jet built by Dassault Aircraft.
The jet, which was built in 1981 and had been at a Coast Guard base in Cape Cod, Mass., flew into Langley in Hampton, Va.,from Elizabeth City, N.C.
The IceBridge program will yield an unprecedented three-dimensional view of the rapidly changing features of Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets, ice shelves and sea ice. Studies by NASA and others generally show that Earth’s polar ice is shrinking as temperatures are rising globally, with many long-term climate impacts.
The multi-year mission, which began in 2009, has been using airborne instruments to map Arctic and Antarctic areas once a year and is led by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
The HU-25C (tail number N525NA, known as NASA 525) will fly first to Thule, Greenland, for research flights before moving to Kangerlussuaq in the south. Scientists from Goddard, Langley and NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., arrived last month in a military aircraft.