ALOFT made its first science flight on Monday 3 July! The NASA ER-2 aircraft left McDill Airforce Base near Tampa, Florida USA, at 17:30 local time (23:30 in Bergen). The flight lasted about 6 hours. The aircraft flew above active thunderstorms in the Gulf of Mexico and the Yucatan peninsula. All the instruments were operational. High-quality science data were gathered, including a gamma-ray glow (a persistent emission of gamma-rays from thunderclouds) observed with unprecedented details.
Martino Marisaldi, UiB, ALOFT deputy Principal Investigator and mission scientist now on duty at McDill, declared: ‘This is extremely exciting! During the first flight we already reached many of the scientific goals of the mission. I think the ALOFT will reshape this scientific field for the years to come.’