Release Immediately 03/15/99

WINTEX Employs High-flying and Ground-based Science

Wisconsin and nearby states will be a satellite-sensor proving ground as NASA and Wisconsin scientists conduct a series of high-flying experiments here using a NASA ER-2, a converted U-2 spy plane. The experiments will focus on testing a suite of instruments that will be deployed on future satellites, including polar-orbiting weather satellites and satellites that will be launched as part of NASAís Earth Observing System.

The visiting NASA ER-2 will be based at Truax Field where the aircraft and other equipment will be supported by the 115th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard.

The ER-2 is capable of climbing as high as 12 miles into the atmosphere, making it an ideal platform from which to test instruments that will look down on the Earth from space. The experiments are built around a suite of sensors designed to sample clouds, atmospheric temperatures and moisture, and the Earthís surface. Of special interest, will be observations of winter storm fronts and their interacting masses of air, and tests of instrumentsí ability to sense clouds against the backdrop of a snow-covered Earth. Flights of the aircraft will originate in Wisconsin but will extend to nearby states and north to Canada.

Wisconsin media are invited to view the aircraft and its scientific payloads on Friday, March 19 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Truax Field. Enter through the main gate at 3110 Mitchell St. There will be no formal press briefing, but scientists from UW-Madisonís Space Science and Engineering Center will be on hand to explain their work and describe the instruments being tested.

For more information, contact SSEC's Public Information Officer at (608) 263- 3373. Also check out the WINTEX Web site.

Terry Devitt
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Phone: (608) 262-8282