When the DynCorp International team working in support of the NASA Aircraft Maintenance and Operational Support (AMOS) contract at Johnson Space Center needed to quickly deploy a NASA GIII Gulfstream aircraft for a critical research mission, they knew they could rely on DI team members from the Joint-Base Andrews to provide their expertise.
“The aircraft was progressing through the maintenance activities but the completion deadline was quickly approaching,” said Jim Snowden, executive manager, NASA Aircraft Maintenance and Operations Support for DynCorp International. “Our director of maintenance knew the caliber of personnel working with DI at Joint-Base Andrews, who are responsible for supporting the United States Air Force, 89th Airlift Wing fleet of Very Important Person Special Air Mission (VIPSAM) aircraft.”
The DI NASA team coordinated with aircraft mechanics from Joint-Base Andrews with specialties in engines and flight controls to assist with the maintenance at the Johnson Space Center. The specialists were seamlessly integrated into the maintenance work flow and their assistance greatly impacted the swift engine and airframe maintenance necessary to be mission-ready.
“Their knowledge and experience not only proved to be valuable in completing the mission, but they were also able to provide some unique training to the DI team at Johnson Space Center on Gulfstream engines,” commented Snowden. “The use of resources between different programs signifies how committed the DI team at NASA is to being innovative, reliable, and delivering the best services.”
NASA AirMOSS Missions
The specially modified Gulfstream III aircraft is currently deployed in Costa Rica to fly NASA Airborne Microwave Observatory of Subcanopy and Subsurface (AirMOSS) missions. AirMOSS missions aim to provide high-resolution observations of root-zone soil moisture over regions of the major North American climatic habitats (biomes), quantify the impact of variations in soil moisture on regional carbon fluxes and extrapolate the reduced-uncertainty estimates of regional carbon fluxes to the continental scale of North America.
North American ecosystems are critical components of the global carbon cycle, exchanging large amounts of carbon dioxide and other gases with the atmosphere. Root-zone soil measurements can be used to better understand these carbon fluxes and their associated uncertainties on a continental scale. AirMOSS uses an airborne ultra-high frequency synthetic aperture radar that has the capability to penetrate through substantial vegetation canopies and soil to depths down to approximately 1.2 meters. For AirMOSS, NASA’s Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) is flown on a Gulfstream III aircraft. Extensive ground, tower, and aircraft in-situ measurements validate root-zone soil measurements and carbon flux model estimates. The surveys provide measurements at 100 meter spatial resolution and at sub-weekly, seasonal, and annual time scales.