Aviation - Avions NASA-Prototypes
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ER-2 tail number 706, is one of two Airborne Science ER-2s used as science platforms by Dryden. The aircraft are platforms for a variety of high-altitude science missions flown over various parts of the world. They are also used for earth science and atmospheric sensor research and development, satellite calibration and data validation. The ER-2s are capable of carrying a maximum payload of 2,600 pounds of experiments in a nose bay, the main equipment bay behind the cockpit, two wing-mounted superpods and small underbody and trailing edges. Most ER-2 missions last about six hours with ranges of about 2,200 nautical miles. The aircraft typically fly at altitudes above 65,000 feet. On November 19, 1998, the ER-2 set a world record for medium weight aircraft reaching an altitude of 68,700 feet. The aircraft is 63 feet long, with a wingspan of 104 feet. The top of the vertical tail is 16 feet above ground when the aircraft is on the bicycle-type landing gear. Cruising speeds are 410 knots, or 467 miles per hour, at altitude. A single General Electric F-118 turbofan engine rated at 17,000 pounds thrust powers the ER-2.