The C-130 was preparing for its final project test flight at dawn this morning. If all goes well, it will be leaving for Thule Air Base in northern Greenland later this week.
Operation IceBridge, an airborne survey of polar ice, conducted its first campaign in 2009, and has flown two campaign each year since, one to survey the Arctic and one to survey the Antarctic.
The mission of Operation IceBridge is to collect data on changing polar land and sea ice and maintain continuity of measurements between NASA’s Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) missions.
The original ICESat mission ended in 2009, and its successor, ICESat-2, is scheduled for launch in 2017. Operation IceBridge, which began in in 2009, is currently funded until 2019. The planned two-year overlap with ICESat-2 will help scientists validate the satellite’s measurements.