The P-3B is a specialized aircraft operated as an airborne ?platform? in support of NASA?s Science Mission Directorate. The aircraft supports scientific investigations by NASA and visiting scientists ... from universities, other agencies and organizations worldwide. With instruments installed, the aircraft serves an economical test bed for studying the Earth and for new concepts in satellite design. The aircraft supports scientific studies across all disciplines of Earth Science such as forest ecology, atmospherics, ocean and ice dynamics, land processes and many more. The P-3 aircraft can carry instrument payloads consisting of one to several at once while supporting Earth studies all over the globe.
Scientific instrument installations on the aircraft generally consist of external components such as a sensors, antennas or probes while inside the aircraft the supporting control and data analysis computers are installed in specially designed rack modules. Multiple instrument payloads are an economical way for cooperating scientists to intercompare data when studying Earth processes. A diverse mix of engineers, technicians, scientists, pilots and managers all team together to safely complete the aircraft-instrument integration designs and hardware fabrications and conduct the flight portions of studies. Once designed, all components can be quickly and economically