ACCENT Pictures

The Atmospheric Chemistry of Combustion Emissions Near the Tropopause (ACCENT) mission is an interagency mission to study the effects of rockets and aircraft in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. ACCENT is jointly sponsored by the Atmospheric Effects of Arcraft Program (AEAP) and the Rocket Impacts on Stratospheric Ozone (RISO) program (see some RISO highlights). As part of that mission, the NASA GSFC aircraft field missions group has been providing flight planning tools and meteorological support in real time for the mission project scientists.

Following are a few pictures of the April 1999 ACCENT deployment. We are using the WB-57F aircraft for carrying the ACCENT payload (See the USAF Museum page for WB-57F history). We are based at Ellington Field just outside of Houston, TX. Ellington Field is part of the Johnson Space Center. All of the Johnson aircraft are based here.

Where we work

Hangar 990

The WB-57F is based in Hangar 990 here at Ellington Field. Here we see the WB-57F being pulled out of 990 prior to the successful ATLAS rocket intercept of April 12, 1999.

Building 994

The ACCENT instrument and support people are housed in a small building just next to hangar 990 in Building 994. Our group is from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center . In particular, we work in the Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Branch (Code 916). Our office here at Ellington is located in the far left corner (third window on the left of the picture).

Our workspace is a bit constricted. We have to squeeze 4 people on to these two small tables. Here we see Tom Kucsera showing a happy face because the other folks aren't cheek to jowl with him this instant.

Here's our GSFC Code 916 group here in building 994. Left to right are Leslie Lait, Tom Kucsera, and Paul Newman.

Anne Thompson came down of April 15 for the takeoff of the WB-57F on the Delta II intercept. In this picture, she's highly amused by our small work area.

Of course, we're not the only folks providing met support here for ACCENT. Rennie Selkirk (left, NASA ARC SWISS group) and Karen Rosenlof (right, NOAA/AL) are also doing met work for ACCENT.

We have a relatively large team here. From left to right are Kathy Wolfe, Randy Friedl, Marty Ross, and Adrian Tuck with his head turned away from the camera. Randy and Marty are the project scientists for ACCENT. Note the typical exhausted look characteristic of the project scientists.

The WB-57F

The WB-57F is the workhorse aircraft for ACCENT. The WB-57F is modified from the Martin B-57 Canberra light bombers. The WB-57F is capable of carrying a 4000 lb. payload to altitudes over 60,000 ft, and with a range in excess of 2300 nautical miles. Here we see the WB-57F on April 12, 1999.

More WB-57F photographs? Yes!

Preparing for the ATLAS intercept flight of April 12, 1999

Here we see the payload (bombbays) for the WB57, where the instruments fit into the aircraft.

Here we see the pallet with Darin Toohey's CORE (ClO) and CO2 instruments begin wheeled into Hangar 990 on Monday morning (4/12/1999) by Amelia Gates and Erik Richard.

Bernie Lefleur already has the Denver University particle instrument's pallet rolled into Hangar 990.

The pallets are now rolled under the plane and attached.

After attachment, we can see the 2 front inlets for the Denver University particle instruments, the middle inlet is for CCN, and the left side inlet (with the power cord draped across it) is for ozone. The CORE & CO2 inlets, as well as the REMS mass spec inlet are out of view on the other (port) side of the fuselage.

The right hand spear pod (starboard wing) has the JPL MTP instrument for temperature profiles (the knob at 9 o'clock on the pod, the NOAA/AL Lyman-alpha water instrument at the front of the pod, and the NCAR MASP particle instrument (the missile shaped inlet in the shadows at about 5 o'clock on the pod).

The left hand spear pod (port wing) has the University of Missouri particle instument.

Here we see the WB-57F being prepped for the April 12, 1999 ATLAS rocket intercept flight. The pilot and backseater are in the cockpit, and Marty Ross (in the foreground with the blue shirt) is walking over to give the pilot instructions on how to fly.

The ATLAS intercept flight

A principal goal of ACCENT is to understand how rockets impact the stratosphere. One of our flights was to intercept the plume from a Lockheed Martin Atlas 2AS rocket. The Lockheed Martin Atlas 2AS rocket took-off on April 12, 1999 (Monday) at 6:50 p.m. EDT, successfully deploying the Eutelsat W3 satellite.

Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin.

The WB-57F made 11 passes through the plume of this rocket at altitudes between 58,000 and 62,000 feet beginning 8 minutes after the launch. Shelley Hilden of NASA/JSC (the WB-57F backseater) snapped off a number of images of the ATLAS plume following the launch.

More of those great Shelley Hilden plume photographs?

The Delta II (Landsat launch) intercept flight

On April 15, 1999 at 11:32 PDT, a Boeing Delta II rocket was launched carrying the Landsat-7 Earth-imaging spacecraft into orbit.

Photo by SrA Linda Miller.

Delta II plume pictures from the WB-57F

Other pictures of things at and near Ellington

Photos taken by Paul A. Newman of NASA/GSFC.

Go to the available forecast plots? Yes.

Last Updated: 1999-04-11
Author: Dr. Paul A. Newman (NASA/GSFC, Code 916) (

Web Curator: Dr. Leslie R. Lait (Raytheon ITSS) (
Responsible NASA organization/official: Dr. Paul A. Newman, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Branch