The NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas is the home of the NASA WB-57 High Altitude Research Program.
The NASA WB-57 provides unique, high-altitude airborne platforms to US Government agencies, academic institutions, and commercial customers in order to support scientific research and advanced technology development and testing at locations around the world. The WB-57 is a mid-wing, long-range aircraft capable of operation for extended periods of time from sea level to altitudes in excess of 60,000 feet. Two crew members are positioned at separate tandem stations in the forward section of the fuselage. The pilot station contains all the essential equipment for flying the aircraft while the sensor equipment operator (SEO) station contains both navigational equipment and controls for the operation of the payloads that are located throughout the aircraft. The WB-57 can fly for approximately 6.5 hours, has a range of approximately 2500 miles, and can carry up to 8,800 lbs of payload.
The Proteus is a unique aircraft designed as a high-altitude, long-duration telecommunications relay platform, with potential for use on atmospheric sampling and Earth monitoring science missions as well.