EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) -- A former Air Force robotic
reconnaissance plane has begun flying missions high over the
Pacific as a NASA atmospheric research aircraft -- the latest use of
formerly secret technology in civilian scientific research.
One of three Air Force Global Hawk unmanned planes that were
turned over to NASA took off from Edwards Air Force Base early
Tuesday on a flight that was expected to last about 24 hours.
The Global Hawk is equipped with sensors to sample the
atmosphere at altitudes about twice those flown by commercial
The flight path was to take the plane from California north to
the Aleutians, then west and south through Hawaii before heading
east back to California.
NASA also flies a converted U-2 spy plane and an unmanned