NASA's HS3 To Fly Two Global Hawks To Study Hurricanes
WALLOPS ISLAND, Va - NASA's Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) will fly two Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles to over the Atlantic Ocean to study tropical cyclones and hurricanes this month.
"What we're doing is we're flying over hurricanes over the Atlantic, down in the Caribbean and in the gulf. We're flying these systems to look at the interior structure, we're flying around these tropical storms to look at their dynamics that control the behavior of the storm," says Paul Newman, Deputy Project Scientist of HS3.
The advantages of flying such an aircraft is the fact that it can be above a hurricane, rather than flying right into one.
"We can fly over storms. Most of the current conventional aircrafts we have will fly into a hurricane, whereas this can fly above it and look into the hurricane," says Newman.
When the military got rid of their Global Hawks, some people at NASA Goddard wanted to use these aircrafts to do hurricane recon. After writing a proposal to NASA headquarters, they were able to obtain the aircrafts and use them.
"Flying over it [hurricanes] is much safer and we're at a much higher altitude, so you can get a profile of the storm so that's the value it brings," says Jon Newhosue, a NASA Global Hawk Pilot.
This is the 2nd year that Global Hawks are being flown from the Wallops Flight Facility, and they are expected to do the same next year. In 2015, scientists will take a look at the data that they will have collected over the past 3 years.
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