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April 9, 2010

It's a bird, it's a plane - really!

Posted: 10:51 AM ET
Global Hawk in flight
Global Hawk in flight

Flying higher, farther and without a pilot.

NASA's Global Hawk plane can fly to altitudes of 60,000 feet – way above normal flight paths – and as far as nearly half way around the world. It does this completely automatically, without the aid of a pilot or controller.

The plane follows a preprogrammed flight path and can stay aloft for nearly 30 hours while staying in contact with NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center via satellites. The Global Hawk maiden voyage took it over the Pacific and Arctic oceans to study the atmosphere over those bodies of water.

Researchers hope that the plane's range and endurance will make it ideal to sample and measure greenhouse gases, ozone and air quality over a wide area in a short period of time.

"We can go to regions we couldn't reach or go to previously explored regions and study them for extended periods that are impossible with conventional planes," said David Fahey, co-mission scientist and research physicist.

Scientists expect the high altitude flights to let them measure dust, smoke and pollution that cross the Pacific from Asia and Siberia and affect U.S. air quality. The Global Hawk is scheduled to make four more flights this month over the Pacific and Arctic areas.

Global Hawks – obviously not retro-fitted with scientific sensors – are also used by the U.S. Air Force for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. They were recently used after the Haiti earthquakes to provide more than 3,600 images of affected areas to help with disaster relief.

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Filed under: Aviation • climate change • environment • greenhouse gas • NASA • Space


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Two New Eyes in the Sky Will Keep Watch on Earth’s Climate | JetLib News   April 9th, 2010 1:01 pm ET

[...] with conventional planes," said David Fahey, co-mission scientist and research physicist [CNN]. From the comfort of their offices in Dryden Flight Research Center in the Mojave Desert, pilots [...]


bhart   April 9th, 2010 1:25 pm ET

Meh. The Predator series UAS, made by General Atomics- Aeronautical Systems just surpassed 1 million flight hours.


jhar   April 9th, 2010 1:43 pm ET

and the U2 has been doing this for over 50 years... I think the GH is re-branding because they haven't been able to deliver the U2's capability even thought they were slotted to replace it 5 years ago...


starzzguitar   April 9th, 2010 1:53 pm ET

This aircraft should be used to gather unbiased data that can be scientifically analyzed, not to "confirm" the damage of "global warming" or so "greenhouse" gases. The term "greenhouse gases" is purely a political expression by an uneducated faction of alarmists. Carbon Dioxide is currently about .05 of the entire earth's atmosphere, which is roughly 70 percent NITROGEN and 30 percent Oxygen, with traces of carbon dioxide. The atmosphere would have to reach about 35 percent carbon dioxide to have a "greenhouse" effect. So I'm not going to worry about it!


JKAF_Guy   April 9th, 2010 2:01 pm ET

@jhar – You do realize the U2 is a manned surveillance aircraft with limited range without midair refueling? You're comparing apples to oranges.

@bhart – The Predator has a ground based controller where as the Global Hawk has all of it's flight coordinates pre-programmed and it flies autonomously.


MATT   April 9th, 2010 2:08 pm ET

Lets arm that baby! Put a couple of Tomahawk Block III's on it. Man, we could blast the hell out of something.


Claude Spears   April 9th, 2010 2:11 pm ET

Cool, I just hope it does not autonomously fly where I am flying at the same time I am there. I can see and avoid. But not to good at avoiding being run over from behind by an autonomously robot in the dark.


Jim   April 9th, 2010 2:31 pm ET

@Claude Spears: Because you routinely fly at 60,000 feet. Right.


Skunkguy   April 9th, 2010 2:36 pm ET

GH has not replaced the U2 because it cannot fly near as high, and only carries half as much. AThe U2 guy or gal can visually spot IED's, and communicate with the ground pounders. This was per an earlier article.


brad1001   April 9th, 2010 2:36 pm ET

Claude has a point, while the Global Hawk may have a ceiling of 60,000 ft, that doesn't mean that IT routinely fies there,


Skunkguy   April 9th, 2010 2:40 pm ET

GH has not replaced the U2 because it cannot fly near as high, and only carries half as much. Per an earlier article, a U2 guy or gal can visually spot IED's, and communicate with the ground pounders.


jack   April 9th, 2010 2:53 pm ET

Too bad it cant measure the bullcrap in its eco-mission.


Mike   April 9th, 2010 3:11 pm ET

Normally the U2 flies at about 70,000 ft. The SR 71 flies at 85000.

I fly at pretty high on Friday nights.


RoundOne   April 9th, 2010 3:14 pm ET

Nothing made by man can measure eco-mission bull carp. Actually, that's what happened at Roswell, NM, a bull carp meter exploded.


Ken in NC   April 9th, 2010 3:19 pm ET

The Global Hawk has all of it's flight coordinates pre-programmed and it flies autonomously.

Next we will develope robots that can do the pre-programming and dertermine which paths are to be taken with the Global Hawk. They will also have the ability to design, build, improve and make repairs. Then they will decide that carbon based units are only taking up needed space and thus begins the wars of the robots and humans. I hope they don't have Democrat and Republican robots. lol.


Jezmundberserker   April 9th, 2010 3:22 pm ET

@MATT: I was thinking the same. Oh, I could have so much fun with one of these things.


Sency   April 9th, 2010 3:24 pm ET

could this be bad for Pilots? because maybe commercial flights won't have Pilots flying them?

http://www.sency.com/pilot.htm


lazer007   April 9th, 2010 3:31 pm ET

i can see go and bad ..BUT!!!...good there would be no way to high-jack the air-craft no need for controls all auto to and from point A to point B..so no way to high-jack and if it has a BOO BOO its auto to land at a air-port near by.and auto-tracking from GPS and ground control to take comand if it has a malfontion..so it would be safe and no more high-jacking the craft...and yes every air-craft has its days and delays...ad some tips to make it better..thanks from lazer007 ;)


Dave   April 9th, 2010 3:31 pm ET

starzzguitar who it would appear is a pseudo scientist stated "The term "greenhouse gases" is purely a political expression by an uneducated faction of alarmists. Carbon Dioxide is currently about .05 of the entire earth's atmosphere, which is roughly 70 percent NITROGEN and 30 percent Oxygen, with traces of carbon dioxide." Oxygen (dry) is 20.93% at sea level (760 mm hg) not 30 % and CO2 is 0.03%, not 0.05%. Do your homework before labeling someone else "uneducated".


Gustavo   April 9th, 2010 3:31 pm ET

The green house effect normally occurs. The fear is that the effect will be compounded significantly because small increases in CO2 can induce exponential increases in water vapor and set off a feedback loop within water vapor concentrations. Though, Mr. guitar something clearly has the science and math down and will not alarmed by such feeble numbers.


Chris   April 9th, 2010 3:33 pm ET

@JKAF_Guy

Predator UaS SerieS airCraFt

• Have logged over 700,000 flight hours with over 85
percent in combat

• Remotely piloted or fully autonomous

• Every second of every day, over 40 aircraft are
airborne worldwide
• C-130 transportable
• Perform routine LOS and BLOS operations with
reachback capability
• Features Lynx SAR/GMTI wide-area surveillance
• Laser designate for another attack aircraft
• Fire precision-guided missiles in combat
• Surpassed a record 14,000 flight hours on a single
airframe


Mark   April 9th, 2010 3:42 pm ET

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a Northrop-Grumman money pit that holds alot of promise but is very sloppily program managed by the Air Force. Hopefully NASA is doing better.


Mark   April 9th, 2010 3:50 pm ET

JKAF_guy, the GH also has ground controllers with the capability of performing ad hoc course changes. Though that is where the similarities end. The Predators video provides a distinct advantage over the GH sensor systems which require the images to be processed and/or interpreted prior to the GH "pilot" (I still laugh at that seeing as how the display looks like a poor man's Commodore 64 game display) receiving an updated target request.


Mike O of LA   April 9th, 2010 3:58 pm ET

"Researchers hope that the plane's range and endurance will make it ideal to sample and measure greenhouse gases, ozone and air quality over a wide area in a short period of time."

The Military hopes that it will deliver precision munitions to targets over a wide area in a short period of time...


kballs   April 9th, 2010 4:08 pm ET

The SR-1 and U2 are out of service.


Rick   April 9th, 2010 4:28 pm ET

and this is more important than feeding our hungry and housing our homeless?


Mark   April 9th, 2010 4:31 pm ET

Wrong kballs, the U2 is very much still in service, and thanks to delays in the B model of the Global Hawk, will continue to be for probably quite a few more years. CNN just did a story on the U2 a few weeks ago.


John N Florida   April 9th, 2010 4:32 pm ET

@starzzguitar; By the time CO2 reaches 35% you'll/we will be long gone. CO2 is toxic in higher concentrations: 1% (10,000 ppm) will make some people feel drowsy.[2] Concentrations of 7% to 10% cause dizziness, headache, visual and hearing dysfunction, and unconsciousness within a few minutes to an hour.[3]


peterbilt1   April 9th, 2010 4:32 pm ET

lets load a nuke on iit and send it to Iran and blow it off the map, the world would be a better place. Then move on to North Korea. Then ask whos next!!!
KILL ALL THE RAG HEADS AND LET GOD SORT THEM OUT!!
by the way allah says he's out of virgins!!
what a bunch of stupid people.


CG   April 9th, 2010 4:34 pm ET

Are you sure about that?


Younan Marketing And Management Associates Inc, Int'l Intst'r   April 9th, 2010 4:38 pm ET

Another point to be made about the Brazil plane crash. That British Developer employee didn't even go on the plane to go back to London England and may have himself put a bomb on the plane – that's also my psychic clairvoyance information. Because he did change flight schedules more than once. Theresa Noelle Younan. So, it may not have been a plane design issue, though that has to be attended too as well. Theresa Noelle Younan YMMA-III


Mergs   April 9th, 2010 4:47 pm ET

SR-71 is retired; U-2 is still flying.

GH cannot spot IEDs; not it's mission. If you think a pair of eyeballs at 70K+ ft can spot an IED when a pair at ground level or even 500' can't spot them, you're dreaming in technicolor.

GH, nor any UAS is 'autonomous', they are automatic. They fly pre-programmed flight profiles; they don't make decisions on their own, with the exception of emergency proceedures, like 'loss of signal/communications' then they go into a pre-programmed orbit for a specified amount of time. if the signal isn't re-established it flies to a pre-programmed, closest airfield.

The vast majority of take offs and landings in commercial aircraft are done automatically today, as are transit navigation. Just a matter of public education before pilots are bio-ballast for the nose of the airplane.

UAS flying in National Airspace issue is kind of like the early 'horseless carriages' and the lunacy in laws that were passed to 'protect the public'. Once UAS are more prevalent, the coordination of airspace becomes simpler.

As said, GH is automatic, from take off to landing. Predator and it's big brother, Reaper are man-controlled for TO-L, which is why so many have crashed. Only one GH has been lost.


l_dopa   April 9th, 2010 4:49 pm ET

Roughly a 14k mi range at 60K ft., and fully autonomous?...wow. Does anyone here besides me and a few other pilot types appreciate those stats? That's huge! It seems the days of the limitations of aircrew tolerance and fuel efficiency are numbered, at least for practical applications. I can't imagine why anyone would complain about a near-30 hour on-station time, given today's applications. Very impressive.


Pipey   April 9th, 2010 4:52 pm ET

I fly higher & faster every night with no pilot, plane, etc.
"Badges?" "I don't have to show you no stinkin' badges–just bong!"


dagnabit   April 9th, 2010 4:55 pm ET

Ah yes, but can the GH have the ability to dodge that duck... and stealthily at that... ?


debunk   April 9th, 2010 4:55 pm ET

peterbilt1 must be a dumb hilly billy.
Dude the "rag-heads" probably compromise 50% of the engineers who develop this stuff. Your high school education getting high is a liability for the US. We need to import talent because unfortunately we
don't have enough in our own country. We don't need to arm the drones with nukes ... we have enough capability to destroy the world already. We have subs sitting off the coasts of the hot zones and other places in the ocean that can hit any target in minutes.


Younan Marketing And Management Associates Inc, Int'l Intst'r   April 9th, 2010 4:55 pm ET

I believe they may be linked in crook theft development with that New York idiot who had a lebanese or some other kind of mideast partner unless i mistook the accent and was also pretending to own my recycled energy generator invention and research technology. He thought he knew how to build towers everywhere, and other stuff. the towers he designed for russia weren't even structurally sound. They were too too tall, too too skinny and no way could he have whatever it was on each floor like he said. i can't remember exactly now. Theresa Noelle Younan YMMA-III


Mark   April 9th, 2010 4:55 pm ET

Merge, there has actually been three GH crashes. All three of which were preproduction models.


Karin   April 9th, 2010 4:57 pm ET

I have no doubt that the actual capabilities of the Global Hawk exceed what are reported here. There is a great deal about what the Global Hawk can do, the performance specs, that is classified. This is also true for some of the missions the Global Hawk has already engaged in.


twelvestringguitar   April 9th, 2010 4:58 pm ET

I work next door to NASA's hangers here at Edwards Air Force base. The GH you see I see everyday. It is an OLD AIR FORCE GH that is just about wore out. They have to work on that old piece of junk all the time. It has alot of hours on it. You thought it was new didnt you....


joe schmoe   April 9th, 2010 5:00 pm ET

People that want to debate the truth behind greenhouse gas theories, either for or against, on a comments section to an article like this need to spend less time on a computer, and more time scrubbing my taint.


twelvestringguitar   April 9th, 2010 5:02 pm ET

In the pic above you see the dry lake bed here at edwards( where the shuttle lands in Calif) I can see where I work in that pic.


Mark   April 9th, 2010 5:04 pm ET

Karin, you would be very surprised. The actual capabilities of the GH are all on NG's website. You are correct about the missions, many of those are classified.


Matt   April 9th, 2010 5:10 pm ET

The question was, "Is this bad for pilots?" Yes and No. UAS platforms, which in the beginning were controlled by NCO's, now are controlled by qualified flight officers. Flight controls and telemetry are getting pretty sophisticated, plus they are armed. One wrong button and there goes the neighborhood. Right now, with armed UAS's like Predator and Raptors, they are armed for air to ground. Soon, very soon, it's going to be air to air as well. That first wave in during a war will be un-manned. But, once air superiority is established, manned fighters will take over. Those air defense systems in Iran will be firing at un-manned platorms, only to be taken out by manned fighters following up with HERO missiles with a 30 mile standoff. Pilots will always be needed but they will not be used like before. A GH can control fifty or sixty UAS's from way above ADA missiles and clean the place out.


Younan Marketing And Management Associates Inc, Int'l Intst'r   April 9th, 2010 5:29 pm ET

About my War On Science Fiction Infestation and Contamination – WASFIC – was fiction now its real, which i came up with after reading your long worm disease in that area of South Africa. Why would they sit in a tub of water to cool the burning from the worms going out of their skin because their water is infested isn't it. So wouldn't they just get reworm infested with no larvae. Or do they go somewhere else for treatment. why do they live in that area anyway. That British fascist party that mixes up all the others in its criminal monarchy rule – their bad bad people, but i have to fight them, because they did and do too much dirty filthy offences which the courts coverup and involve themselves in to stay where they didn't belong in the first place. Theresa Noelle Younan YMMA-III. I can hear their women calling and giving orders to make this person or that person say what i'm saying or pretend to be what i am and on and on.


Younan Marketing And Management Associates Inc, Int'l Intst'r   April 9th, 2010 5:32 pm ET

typo correction in my last statement – should read – "new" larvae.
Theresa Noelle Younan YMMA-III


Tom   April 9th, 2010 5:34 pm ET

Does anyone know/can anyone tell me just how big/small this aircraft is? PiperCub? 747? Drone?


Younan Marketing And Management Associates Inc, Int'l Intst'r   April 9th, 2010 5:38 pm ET

Oh, I healed my tb tumor in my small bowel that was blocking my food channel. I just keep couging and coughing and coughing (maybe it means coffin and coffin and coffin) then I stop for awhile. I'm waiting to get a Pulmonary Function Test (breath test) I'm not dying yet so don't rush to finish off and steal what i still have and do in more people to brand your name on us like we're your cattle herd. Theresa Noelle Younan YMMA-III


Tom   April 9th, 2010 5:41 pm ET

@Younan Marketing–

What in the hell are you blathering about, and what does it have to do with this article???


Jeff of Peoria   April 9th, 2010 5:47 pm ET

The geeks are out in force


Steve Smith   April 9th, 2010 5:52 pm ET

20$ the Air Force already has this thing with a on-board camera and missile rack


Hawaii_DOD_Man   April 9th, 2010 5:55 pm ET

Do you know what PILOT stands for: Personnel In-Lieu of Technology (PILOT)!


wyatt   April 9th, 2010 5:57 pm ET

@Mark

those of you who wish to never suport this country should just go to canada and enjoy your doctors with overpriced medicine. the only reason companies like northrop grumann and lockheed martin havbe to price things so high is to cover cost of the research development and building of the planes as well as wages and other expenses such as heating costs etc. not only that but theyh also put a 10% inflation cost in the budget because they can't buy al the parts at once. not only that it's a piece of technology i doubt you would even know where to begin on how to build.


Dave   April 9th, 2010 6:51 pm ET

Hay, what the heck, it's ure better than Obamacare!


R Reagan   April 9th, 2010 6:56 pm ET

So right next to this box I'm typing this in it says something to the effect that these comments will be moderated by cnn...so I'm wondering who at cnn does not think that the comments by retards like peterbilt1 are racist, offensive not to mention completely off-topic? Who's running your editorial dept these days, Sarah Palin?


Dave   April 9th, 2010 6:58 pm ET

This is not new, it is already in the Airforce Museum in Dayton Ohio!


R Reagan   April 9th, 2010 7:01 pm ET

Hmm, guess the mod's are off to lunch...

Hey wyatt: people like you who think they support this country by buying into all the bs rightwing nutjobs are selling them should just go back to a proper high school for some serious educating or commit suicide. Either way be sure to get yourself 'fixed' so we wont be burdened by any of your offspring.

Dave: you lost, we won. Get over it frusty.


peterbilt1   April 9th, 2010 8:47 pm ET

r regan grow some nutts, the world is coming down to some tough decisions, the planet is getting to small for the population. You have decide; us or the crazies? I choose us. This equipment needs to be use to save the planet. Reduce the population on a large scale now before its to late. If you cant see it needs to be done, the you are stupid as dirt.
Yea it sucks and it ant a good option but it is our only option.


SphericalTechnologies.com » Blog Archive » Two New Eyes in the Sky Will Keep Watch on Earth’s Climate   April 9th, 2010 8:52 pm ET

[...] with conventional planes," said David Fahey, co-mission scientist and research physicist [CNN]. From the comfort of their offices in Dryden Flight Research Center in the Mojave Desert, pilots [...]


Timeonics   April 11th, 2010 2:43 pm ET

Think weather manipulation.......


Franko   April 17th, 2010 3:09 pm ET

"Watch on Earth’s Climate"
Good idea - trace the pollution back to the source.
IPCC conferences, Al Gore's hot breath, Obama's Green Jobs ?


Daniel   June 5th, 2013 5:00 pm ET

I think this will be useful to identify the treat pollution bring to the environment. with this More people will be aware. Thanks man

If you like interesting articles about the environment then check out my blog

http://environmentreveal.com/


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