Northrop Re-Ups Global Hawk Contract With NASA

Five years into a partnership to make its Global Hawk drones available to NASA for scientific endeavors, Northrop Grumman is ready to continue the relationship for five more years ... or more.

On Thursday, the maker of unmanned aerial vehicles announced that it has reupped its five-year NASA Space Act Agreement with the Dryden Flight Research Center, whereby Northrop makes Global Hawk drones, which it owns and operates, available to NASA for use on science missions and flight demonstrations, including hurricane surveillance, atmospheric research, and exploration of new mission capabilities.

Already, the drones have been used on missions to investigate how the composition of the atmosphere affects Earth's climate, to monitor the progress of hurricanes forming in the Atlantic Ocean, and to examine the effects of winter storms on flood risk along the West Coast.

Northrop's renewed agreement will run through April 30, 2018, and requires NASA to share the cost of operating the drones with Northrop, in exchange for being allowed to use the drones jointly. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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