SAN DIEGO, May 31 (UPI) -- NASA will continue using Northrop Grumman Global Hawk unmanned aircraft for science missions and flight demonstrations.
Northrop Grumman, maker of the unmanned aerial system, said the renewed agreement with NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center for joint use and shared costs of the Global Hawks utilized is extended until 2018.
"In the last five years, the Global Hawk has flown over the eye of hurricanes, examined the effects of greenhouse gases and conducted cutting-edge autonomous aerial refueling trials," said George Guerra, vice president of the Global Hawk program for Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector.
"We are thrilled to continue our partnership with NASA and look forward to more scientific and technological breakthroughs in the next five years."
The initial Space Act Agreement between NASA and Northrop in 2008 returned two pre-production Global Hawk aircraft to flight status and a permanent ground control station was built at Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Northrop Grumman says the UAS, with its high-altitude and long-endurance capabilities, is ideal for use in scientific research.