Friday’s long flight day over the Rockies covered 6 sites: Little Cottonwood in Utah, Cameron Pass, Fraser, and Senator Beck in Colorado, and Central Agricultural Research Center (CARC) in Montana. Both the aircraft’s PPA (platform precision autopilot) and the radar performed well and the aircraft landed at Ellington Field, TX with a fuel stop in Idaho. The aircraft will be based out of Ellington Field to conduct the weekly SnowEx observations from now through mid-March. Nominally the SnowEx observations will be conducted on Wednesdays, with Thursdays and Tuesdays as backup days.
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The L-band radar is being installed on the JSC G-III this week in preparation for the SnowEx campaign. Engineering/Rosamond Corner Reflector Array calibration flight is scheduled for Wednesday (1/13) and science flights will begin this Friday from Palmdale, CA en route to Houston, TX. The SnowEx campaign will consist of weekly observations of snow accumulation over field sites in the Rockies with different terrain and snow types through mid-March, where each observation consists of a ~9 hour flight based out of Houston, TX with a refuel stop in Idaho.
The SAR-Fusion QUAKES-I side imaging SWIR camera was flown over the northern California LNU Complex, River CZU, and Bobcat fires with the UAVSAR flights on September 3, 9, and 18, 2020 respectively. Optical images were collected out the left window with a full frame camera. The 12.5 km altitude flown for UAVSR and side imaging are useful for situational awareness above the firefighting aircraft. Visible images show the smoke plume while short wavelength infrared (SWIR) imagery sees through the smoke and shows the fire hotspots.
The L-band radar aboard the AFRC C-20A jet successfully completed the first California wildfire response flight on Thursday, September 3. We imaged the area north of San Francisco where the LNU Lightning Complex Fire is burning, as well as Oroville Dam site (spillway failure in 2017) and the Camp Fire scar (major fire in 2018, burned the town of Paradise, CA) and Atlas Fire scar (major fire in 2017, burned through Napa and Sonoma Counties). We had a perfect flight, with no repeat flight lines.
The L-band radar aboard the JSC G-III is in the midst of the SnowEx campaign, where we have been imaging a dozen instrumented sites in Western U.S. to study the utility of repeat-pass L-band InSAR for monitoring snow water equivalent in several snow climates in California, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. We will conduct weekly observations whenever possible through the end of March, then bi-weekly observations through early May.
We have successfully completed the ISRO L/S-band Airborne SAR (ASAR) Alaska deployment aboard the AFRC C-20A jet. Thanks to the outstanding flight planning by the JPL and AFRC UAVSAR team and the excellent flight crew support, we were able to conduct 7 flights in 8 days and successfully acquired all but one flight line due to a minor recording issue.
The P-band radar aboard the AFRC C-20A (NASA802) successfully completed imaging of the complex terrain soil moisture in the Mammoth area on 26 June. In addition, we conducted a science demonstration flight imaging landslide area in Northern California as well as the densely vegetated Long Valley caldera (a large volcanic complex in eastern California) to study the use of P-band DInSAR (differential interferometric SAR) techniques over areas that typically decorrelates in L-band imagery over a short time period and deep-seated landslides.
After successfully completing the second leg of the OMG GLISTIN-A Greenland campaigns, the team left Greenland for Grand Forks, ND on Tuesday, 16 April and mapped the Red River floodplain again for researchers at University of New Hampshire to improve their flood prediction model.
The L-band radar aboard the AFRC G-III conducted its first flight of the 2019 on 19 February. The AFRC G-III had just returned from a major cockpit upgrade. Both the aircraft, including the platform precision autopilot, and the radar checked out well. Thursday we will begin a series of California local science flights.
The Ka-band radar pod will be installed aboard the JSC G-III early next week in preparation for the Oceans Melting Greenland mission’s Greenland deployment. This will be our fourth annual visit of the coastal Greenland glaciers.
The L-band radar aboard the AFRC G-III aircraft flew over the Woolsey and Hill fires in Southern California on 15 November as part of the NASA response to the fires. The flight was at night to stay out of the way of firefighting aircraft in the area. We also carried a FLIR thermal camera (7.5-13.5 um) supplied by the Mobility and Robotic Systems Section of JPL. Andrea Donnellan (JPL) has been developing a camera mount system to co-collect optical imagery with SAR data. We plan to use the thermal camera imagery to attempt to match the active fire front with the SAR imagery. We flew two