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NASA Global Hawk to Visit Australia

NASA Global Hawk to Visit Australia

U.S. space agency NASA is preparing to launch drone missions high in Australian skies during the next six weeks. NASA is operating an ex-U.S. Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) – the largest, most sophisticated drone in operational service today.

With the wingspan of a Boeing 737 airliner and a flight endurance exceeding 30 hours, the Northrop Grumman Global Hawk, costing a hefty $200 million U.S. each when fitted out with sophisticated eavesdropping equipment, is designed to circle the globe on secret military intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. NASA announced that one of two ex-military Global Hawk it operates will conduct scientific missions from the U.S. Pacific Island territory of Guam, “to track changes in the upper atmosphere and help researchers understand how these changes affect Earth’s climate.”

NASA says scientists have installed 13 different instruments on the Global Hawks to capture air samples, and analyse clouds, gases and solar radiation for the Airborne Tropical Tropopause Experiment (ATTREX) flights.

For the complete story by Mark Corcoran of ABC (Australia), click here.

Updated: January 23, 2014 — 9:31 AM

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