NASA/GSFC/WFF has a requirement for aircraft support for an Airborne Remote Sensing Campaign over sites in Antarctica and Chile scheduled to occur between November 1 and December 6,2004. This aircraft support will be provided in concert with an existing Memorandum of Understanding between NASA and the Centro de Estudios Cientificos (CECS) for a joint scientific study of the Antarctic ice fields. NASA/GSFC/WFF intends to purchase this service on a non-competetive basis.
For the last 15 years, NASA’s Arctic Ice Mapping Project has been operating remote sensing instrumentation over ice-covered regions in order to study Cryospheric Science and related effects of Global Climate Change. The instrumentation required for the field campaign in Antarctica and Patagonia is designed to mount only on a P3 aircraft, therefore a P3 is required for the campaign. Special antennas are specifically required for a ice penetrating radar that must be mounted to the wings of the remote sensing platform. These antennas have been designed and constructed to fasten to existing hard points of a P3.
Use of any other type of aircraft would incur excessive cost and time associated with flight re-certification following installation of these antennas. It may be necessary to operate the aircraft over sensitive Chilean air space, and as such, only a Chilean aircraft will be permitted in some of the important survey areas. The base of operation for this project will be Punta Arenas, Chile, which is the closest major airport to the sites of interest in Antarctica.