NASA Does Test Flight of Hurricane Lab

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 (UPI) — NASA successfully flew its airborne hurricane research mission on a shakedown flight over the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday, the agency said.

The 5-hour flight followed the Gulf Coast from western Florida to Louisiana in a practice run for the agency’s six-week Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes mission, a NASA release said.

NASA’s DC-8, the largest of the three aircraft taking part in the mission, took off from the Fort Lauderdale airport. The two other aircraft — a WB-57 based in Houston and the autonomous Global Hawk flying out of southern California — will join the campaign in about a week.

The GRIP missions will allow instruments aboard the DC-8 to collect information on rainfall rates, wind speed and direction from below the airplane to down to the surface, cloud droplet sizes and aerosol particle sizes.

NASA’s Global Hawk reached 60,000 feet during a test flight Sunday over the agency’s Dryden Flight Research Center in California.

The last of three instruments on the Global Hawk for GRIP are being installed this week, NASA said.

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