Based at the Naval Air Facility Key West in Florida, ACES researchers in August
2002 chased down thunderstorms using an uninhabited aerial vehicle (UAV) -
allowing them to achieve dual goals of gathering weather data safely and
testing new aircraft technology. This marked the first time a UAV was used to
conduct lightning ... research.
Aimed at better understanding the causes of an electrical storm's fury and its
effects on our home planet, this study was a collaboration among the Marshall
Center; the University of Alabama at Huntsville; NASA's Goddard Space Flight
Center, Greenbelt, Md.; Pennsylvania State University, University Park; and
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., San Diego.
The ALTUS Cloud Electrification Study (ACES) was based at the Naval Air
Facility Key West in Florida. ACES researchers in August 2002 conducted
overflights of thunderstorms over the southwestern corner of Florida. For the
first time in NASA research an uninhabited aerial vehicle (UAV) named ALTUS was
used to collect cloud electrification data. Carrying field mills, optical
sensors, electric field sensors and other instruments, it allowed scientists to
collect cloud electrification data for the first time from above the storm from
it's birth through dissipation. This experiment allowed scientists to achieve
the dual goals of gathering weather data safely, and testing new aircraft
This dataset consists of data from the Electric Field Mills which yield
information about the atmospheric electrical fields abut the instruments.