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Flight Request Instructions

We invite you to advance your science investigations by acquiring new UAVSAR data, designed with your specific science requirements in mind. We here describe the necessary steps that can make that happen:

Step 1: You must submit a flight request with the NASA airborne science program.
Step 2: The flight request must be approved by a NASA program manager. This should happen well in advance of the date that you desire to acquire data.


Step 3: The UAVSAR flight planning team will contact you to finalize the flight plan.
Step 4: The data will be acquired.
Step 5: The data will be processed and made available.

Step 1

A flight request must be entered into the NASA Science Operations Flight Request System (SOFRS) in order to acquire new UAVSAR data. This flight request should have the following information to be complete:

  • Objectives
  • Name and general location of each site
  • Approximate number of flight lines and their length and heading
  • Preferred season(s) or special conditions for imaging of each site
  • Number of revisits or repeat interval

The SOFRS system consists of an online form that you will be asked to fill out. Please be sure to include the above information. Detailed instructions on how to fill out the form can be found here.

Prior to submitting this flight request, you may want to create a preliminary flight plan to experiment with designing your flight plan, and to estimate the number of flight lines and flight hours that will be necessary. You will want to register at the UAVSAR website so that your planned flight lines will be saved in your account.

A few days after you submit the flight request, it will be given a flight request ID.

After you receive your NASA flight request ID from SOFRS, you should again visit the UAVSAR flight planning tool to finalize your flight plan, and link it to your NASA flight request ID.

You can do this by creating a new plan. On the "Choose Sensor" page, select your flight request. On the "Import" page, import your old plan. On the "Create Flight Plan" page, select your take off and landing airports, make any refinements to the plan, provide a new name for your plan, and create the report.

(You can continue to revise this plan in this manner until the UAVSAR flight planning team makes the operational plan prior to flight, but you must insure the UAVSAR flight planning team uses your final flight plan.)

Lastly, you should update your NASA flight request at SOFRS by simply pasting the URL of your finalized flight plan report (easily copied from your flight plans page) into the box labeled "Other Observation Requirements or Additional Comments".

If at any time you need assistance, please contact the UAVSAR science coordinator.

Step 2

Either prior to or after submitting your flight request, you should confer with your NASA program manager about your flight request and the expected costs (which are estimated by the UAVSAR flight planning tool).

At some point, most likely a couple months prior to flying your proposed flight lines, NASA Dryden will provide your program manager with an "official" cost estimate, including Mission Peculiar Costs (MPC) if you need to base the aircraft outside of its home airport in Palmdale, California. Your flight request, along with this official cost estimate, may now be formally approved (or not) by your NASA program manager.

Until the flight request is approved, the flight plan cannot be executed.

If your flight request requires either data collection over a foreign territory or landing at a non-US airfield, NASA Dryden will seek the necessary diplomatic clearances. Ample time (several months) should be allowed for this process. Diplomatic clearance is not always granted.

Step 3

The UAVSAR science coordinator will contact you sometime after your flight request is submitted, and together you will develop the final flight plan that best achieves your science objectives at a minimum cost and in coordination with other UAVSAR flight plans. You should discuss any flight coordination requests such as field work activities with the UAVSAR science coordinator

Step 4

You will be notified prior to collecting your UAVSAR data.

Step 5

Shortly after acquisition and the data is returned to JPL, the UAVSAR processing team will process the data. If you require interferometric processing, please contact the UAVSAR science coordinator that helped you plan your flight plan. After processing, the data will be archived at the Alaska Satellite Facility. You may download the data either from the UAVSAR data search page or directly from the ASF website.