Monday, September 26, 2011

The NASA DC-8 is a four-engine jet transport that has been highly modified to support the Agency's science mission. The medium-altitude aircraft has a 148-foot wingspan and is 157 feet long. It can fly at altitudes from 1,000 to 42,000 feet for up to 12 hours, although most science missions average six to 10 hours. The aircraft has a range of 5,400 nautical miles and can carry 30,000 pounds of scientific instruments and equipment. NASA acquired the former commercial airliner in 1985. It was based at the Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., until late 1997 when it moved to the Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif.

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