The Airborne Sensor Facility (ASF) at NASA Ames supports a variety of airborne research activities for the NASA Earth Science Division. It conducts engineering development of remote sensing instrumentation and real-time payload communications systems, and supports their operational use on science field campaigns. The ASF maintains a suite of facility instruments that are made available for use by NASA-approved research projects, with all resulting data being made available free of charge through public archives. These data are typically used for fundamental earth science process studies, satellite calibration and validation, development of retrieval algorithms, and disaster response. The sat-com based payload communications systems are deployed on most of the NASA science aircraft, and are a key element of the larger NASA Airborne Sensor Network, which allows scientists to view data from multiple instruments in real-time during science campaigns.
The ASF is staffed by the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) under the NASA Academic Mission Services (NAMS) contract. It includes elements for sensor engineering, optical and infrared sensor calibration, and data processing.