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Pre-dawn flights of our Global Hawk help beat hot summer days in Southern California. Electronic components, which are cooled by fuel onboard, only function within temperature limitations, so testing usually ceases by midday, as fuel and onboard computers become too hot to operate. The Global Hawk unmanned aircraft is used for high-altitude, long-duration Earth science missions. The ability of the Global Hawk to autonomously fly long distances, remain aloft for extended periods of time and carry large payloads brings a new capability to the science community for measuring, monitoring and observing remote locations of Earth not feasible or practical with piloted aircraft, most other robotic or remotely operated aircraft, or space satellites. Image Credit: NASA/Michael Bereda
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