DC-8 Platform Info

NASA DC-8 Aircraft

The NASA DC-8 is a medium altitude, moderate to high speed aircraft, then operated at NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. The extended range, prolonged flight-duration capability, large payload capacity and laboratory environment of the DC-8 make it one of the premier research aircraft available to NASA's Science Mission Directorate. Combined with other aircraft, satellites or ground stations, the DC-8 complements and extends the range of an instrument package, allowing scientists to successfully address planetary issues.

As part of NASA's Airborne Science and Applications Program, the NASA DC-8 aircraft is used to acquire data for Earth science research (e.g., archaeology, ecology, geography, hydrology, meteorology, oceanography, volcanology, atmospheric chemistry, cryospheric science, soil science and biology). The aircraft platform provides for a wide variety of experiments, collecting data in support of NASA-sponsored scientific projects as well as projects involving other federal, state, academic, and commercial investigators. Scientific investigators use the aircraft for earth, atmospheric and celestial observations, and research includes development of new sensors, and methodology for conducting such observations. Data from operational sensors as well as newly developed instruments are used in applications programs examining subjects such as ozone depletion, tropical rain forest destruction, tropical disease vectors, wildfire investigations and geologic remote sensing. The NASA DC-8 aircraft is part of a fleet of airborne platforms that provide support to the Earth Science Enterprise initiative.

Specifications and Operational Parameters

Enginefour CFM56-2-C1 High Bypass Turbofan Jet
Performance Altitude1,000 - 42,000 ft
Research Speed425 - 490 knots
Range5400 nautical miles
Flight Duration12 hours (6-10 hours average)
Payload Capacity30,000 lbs of equipment; 45 experimenters and flight crew
Other AccommodationsZenith, 8° and 62°, and Nadir viewports