ER-2 tail number 709, is an Airborne Science ER-2s used as science platforms.
NASA operates two Lockheed aircraft as flying laboratories in the Airborne Science Program under the Agency’s Science Mission Directorate. The aircraft, based at NASA Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, CA, collect information about Earth resources, celestial observations, atmospheric chemistry and dynamics, and oceanic processes. The aircraft also are used for electronic sensor research and development, satellite calibration, and satellite data validation.
Since the Airborne Science Program’s inaugural flight on August 31, 1971, NASA U-2s and ER-2s have flown more than 4,500 data missions and test flights in support of scientific research. NASA’s ER-2 set a world-altitude record for the class of aircraft with a takeoff weight between 26,455 and 35,275 lb on Nov. 19, 1998, when the aircraft reached 68,700 feet.