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Unmanned hurricane aircraft lands in Virginia

By Brent Watts, bwatts@wdbj7.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:10:53 AM EST
Updated On: Aug 14 2013 09:42:23 PM EDT
Global Hawk lands at Wallops Island, Virginia

The unmanned aircraft is the first of two NASA will fly over the Atlantic Ocean to study tropical storms

The first of two NASA Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles supporting the Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) mission landed at 7:39 a.m. Wednesday (Aug. 14), at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va.

During August and September, NASA will fly the two Global Hawks over the Atlantic Ocean to study tropical storms and the processes that underlie hurricane formation and intensification. The aircraft are equipped with instruments to survey the overall environment of the storms and peer into the inner core of hurricanes to study their structure and processes.

The Global Hawks' high flight altitudes allow scientists to view vertical storm development and sampling of upper-level winds. Deployments from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility and 30-hour flight durations will provide access to unrestricted air space, coverage of the entire Atlantic Ocean basin, and on-station times up to 10-24 hours depending on storm location.

>>TAKE AN INTERACTIVE LOOK INSIDE THE GLOBAL HAWK

Deployments will be from mid-August to mid-September 2012-2014, with ten 30-hour flights per deployment, providing an unprecedented and comprehensive data set for approximately nine to twelve hurricanes.

Source: NASA/Wallops Island