P-3 Orion 05/06/14

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Flight Number: 
Science Flight - South Canada Glaciers
Payload Configuration: 
Operation IceBridge
Nav Data Collected: 
Total Flight Time: 
6.9 hours
Flight Segments: 
Start:05/06/14 10:57 Z Finish:05/06/14 17:53 Z
Flight Time:6.9 hours
Log Number:14P009 - Completed as of this flight.PI:Michael Studinger
Funding Source:Bruce Tagg - NASA - SMD - ESD Airborne Science Program
Purpose of Flight:Science
Comments:The South Canada Glaciers Mission was completed today.
Flight Hour Summary: 
Flight Hours Approved in SOFRS24
Total Used19.8
Total Remaining4.2
14P009 Flight Reports
Date Flt # Purpose of Flight Duration Running Total Hours Remaining Miles Flown
03/25/14F10 - Axel Heiberg-EurekaScience5.15.118.9
04/01/14F14 North Canada GlaciersScience7.812.911.1
05/06/14Science Flight - South Canada GlaciersScience6.919.84.2

Flight Reports began being entered into this system as of 2012 flights. If there were flights flown under an earlier log number the flight reports are not available online.

Related Science Report: 

OIB - P-3 Orion 05/06/14 Science Report

Mission Summary: 

F36 South Canada Glaciers




  • Low-altitude survey (3,000 ft AGL) over the Canadian Arctic.
  • ATM, albedo, KT-19, snow, Ku-band, accumulation, MCoRDS and DMS were operated on the survey lines.
  • MCoRDS was operated in tomography mode during the entire flight.
  • Ramp pass at Thule at 2,000 ft AGL for instrument calibration.
  • Pitch maneuvers over sea ice/water in North Star Bay for instrument calibration.
  • Satellite tracks: none.
  • Repeat Mission: new mission.


Instrument Operated Data Volume Instrument Issues/Comments
ATM yes 58 GB None.
DMS yes 33 GB None.
Snow Radar yes 356 GB None.
Ku-band Radar yes 356 GB None.
Accumulation Radar yes 110 GB None.
MCoRDS yes 1.6 TB None. Tomography mode. Collected equalization data over sea ice.
KT-19 yes 9 MB None.
Albedo yes 5 GB None.


Mission Report (Michael Studinger, Mission Scientist)

The primary candidate mission for today was a sea ice mission (Connor Corridor) underflying the SARAL spacecraft, which uses the same orbit as Envisat and operates a Ka-band (35.75 GHz) radar altimeter called AltiKa. The plan was to fly the same line out and back, flying the out leg at the normal 1,500' altitude, and the return leg at ~15,000'. The orbit geometry today was suitable for the mission, however, a well-established low pressure system with bad weather prevented us from flying the mission (Fig. 2) and instead we selected a land ice mission. As expected we were barely able to stay below the mid-level clouds of this system over Ellesmere Island.

The "South Canada Glaciers" mission was a combination of centerlines and fluxgates for the major outlet glaciers of the Prince of Wales and southern Agassiz ice caps, as well as for Belcher Glacier on the Devon ice cap. We flew centerlines for the most part, and we added a few fluxgates for glaciers whose centerlines we did not fly, and for the unusually wide Cadogan, Trinity and Wykeham glaciers. We also flew a total of three flowlines on the Trinity and Wykeham glaciers, and we flew two flowlines on the Belcher Glacier. The centerlines and fluxgates were designed by Dave Burgess and Martin Sharp and the flight hours of today's flight are charge to Flight Request 14P009 in support for the CSA/NASA agreement. The MCoRDS radar was be operated in tomographic mode for the entirety of this mission. Aircraft altitude was maintained at 3000-3500' AGL as best as possible in order to achieve wide-swath tomography over the glaciers.

 LiDAR data collection started 05/06/2014 11:42 UTC and ended at 16:57 UTC. In total we collected 5.3 hours of science data and we able to stay below the mid-level clouds during the entire time in the survey area (Fig. 2).


Figure 1: Today's trajectory in yellow.

Figure 2: Infrared satellite image (3 µm).