Wind, Rains, and NASA Brains

NASA’s ER-2 research aircraft is taking up temporary residence at Offutt AFB, Neb., as part of a NASA project to improve the predictive capability of meteorological satellites. A group of roughly 20 scientists, technicians, and crews is set to arrive this week at Offutt, along with the agency’s modified, U-2-based test aircraft, which will play the role of a satellite, gathering weather data over Oklahoma. “It was important for them to be close enough to the target site to reduce transit time, but far enough away so airfield operations are not affected by the weather they are measuring,” said Maj. Bryan Rogers, plans chief for Offutt’s 55th Wing, in describing the NASA team’s forthcoming activities. NASA intends to create 3-D models of wind, precipitation, and moisture patterns as a foundation for the Global Precipitation Measurement satellite mission in 2013. (Offutt report by SrA. Danielle Grannan)