Remote controlled NASA aircraft to track hurricanes

|August 25, 2015 0

MUMBAI, INDIA: Technology, once again is coming to the rescue of the human race.

None other than NASA is piloting a unique project involving remote controlled aircrafts to forecast hurricanes, and track their intensity. The project is a part of NASA’s new generation weather forecast observation tools.

From now until the end of September, the aircraft called Global Hawk, equipped with instruments to profile the inner workings of storms, will fly over the Atlantic Ocean basin to collect data on temperature, moisture, wind speed and direction, reports the Indo Asian News Service.



Global Hawk flies higher and longer than any manned aircraft. It allows data collection from 60,000 feet, an altitude nearly twice as high as manned aircraft, to the ocean surface, and can gather weather data continuously for up to 24 hours.

The real-time data will go into National Weather Service forecast models at the National Hurricane Center. Operating from the aircraft ground control station located at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will work with NASA scientists on the mission called Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology (SHOUT).

Scientists will also test whether the data from the Global Hawk can help replace data collected by satellites in the unlikely event that a satellite goes down.

“We are flying the Global Hawk above hurricanes and other severe storms to refine it as a new, powerful tool to better forecast where hurricanes go and how intense they are,” said Robbie Hood, Director Unmanned Aircraft System Program, NOAA.

“The mission is part of NOAA’s work to improve our nation’s preparedness and resilience to hurricanes and other severe storms,” he said in a statement.

“The Global Hawk allows us to stay over these weather patterns a greater amount of time than manned aircraft,” added Gary Wick, NOAA’s lead scientist for the mission.

“It provides us with an observing tool that has the endurance of a satellite but provides finer resolution data and precision of an aircraft,” he noted.

The mission builds on earlier collaborative storm research led by NASA and will move the Global Hawk closer to being put into operational use as a weather forecast observations tool.

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