Guam Airport Hosts NASA High-Altitude Research Plane - United Hub
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Guam Airport hosts NASA high-altitude research plane

By Pete Rapalus, November 02, 2016

We hosted a NASA research team of about 45 people during most of October in our maintenance hangar at Guam International Airport for flights of a high-altitude WB-57F aircraft studying the upper atmosphere, and many employees were invited to drop by to see the aircraft, and talk to the scientists and support personnel.

High-altitude WB-57F aircraftPhoto courtesy of Guam Line Maintenance Manager Rudy Capistrano

The WB-57F arrived on October 9, and is scheduled to leave Guam on the last day of the month. It carries instruments crucial to the Pacific Oxidants, Sulfur, Ice, Dehydration, and cONvection (POSIDON) Experiment, which studies chemistry, cirrus clouds and dehydration in the tropical upper troposphere and lower stratosphere over the western Pacific.

Employees Exploring NASA AircraftPhoto courtesy of Guam Line Maintenance Manager Rudy Capistrano

The POSIDON mission provided scientists a unique opportunity to make high-altitude aircraft measurements in an important part of the atmosphere. These observations will improve predictions of future changes in climate and the ozone layer.

NASA Research Team Member in AircraftPhoto courtesy of Guam Line Maintenance Manager Rudy Capistrano

Guam Line Maintenance Manager Rudy Capistrano said the team's mission and instrumentation were fascinating to observe at such close proximity, and along with station management he thanked NASA for allowing employees to see the aircraft up close and meet the team members.

"This has been a great experience for us, and we would gladly welcome NASA back in the future," Capistrano said.

Employees observe POSIDON projectPhoto courtesy of NASA

"It was interesting to be able to meet the scientists and talk with them about the research they were doing," said Technical Operations Commercial Sales Manager Lu Brigham, who helped arrange the residency. "The plane was fascinating — it was smaller than one of our regional jets, but with a very large wingspan, and had just enough room for two people and the research instruments. The plane flies so high the two on board have to wear pressurized suits like astronauts."

Marilyn Vasques is the POSIDON Project Manager and the POSIDON Project Scientist is Eric Jensen of the NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California. In addition to Capistrano and Guam Facilities Manager Chuck Sova, Lu credited a number of other co-workers who were central to the endeavor, especially Government Contracts Attorney Karen Botterud and Associate General Counsel Matt Wexley; Risk Management Insurance Managers Rose Anne Gillespie and Lori Wade; Tech Ops Sales Contract Manager Michelle Freeman; Corporate Security Regional Manager Tom Berkemeyer and Micronesia Sales Senior Manager Paula Monk

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