NASA operates two ER-2 aircraft as readily deployable high altitude sensor platforms to collect remote sensing and in situ data on earth resources, atmospheric chemistry and dynamics, and oceanic processes. The aircraft also are used for electronic sensor research and development, satellite calibration and satellite data validation. Operating at 70,000 feet (21.3 km) the ER-2 acquires data above ninety-five percent of the earth’s atmosphere. The aircraft also yields an effective horizon of 300 miles (480 km) or greater at altitudes of 70,000 feet. Consequently, ER-2 sensors acquiring earth imagery or conducting atmospheric sounding replicate spatial, spectral and atmospheric characteristics of data collected by earth observing sensors aboard orbiting satellites.

NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center
Conventional Aircraft
8.0 hours (payload and weather dependent)
Useful Payload: 
2,900 lbs
Gross Take-off Weight: 
40,000 lbs
Onboard Operators: 
1 (including flight crew)
Max Altitude: 
70,000 ft
Air Speed: 
410 knots
5,000 Nmi
30 kVA, (115 VAC at 400 Hz) 10kVA (28 VDC)
NASA SMD User Fee per Hour: 
Point(s) of Contact: 

John T. McGrath

Work: (661) 276-2588
Mobile: (661) 802-3566
Individual Aircraft Details: 

N806NA (NASA806) based at NASA AFRC
  Year built: 1981
  Year entered ASP service: 1981

N809NA (NASA809) based at NASA AFRC
  Year built: 1989
  Year entered ASP service: 1989