An aircraft as Research Platform
Founded by the Bundesministerium fuer Bildung und Forschung (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research), the Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft and the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, the HALO project was intended to acquire a specialized aircraft for atmospheric research and earth observation. Today, HALO is supported by many German scientific institutions: the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG; German Research Foundation), the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, the Deutsches Zentrum fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR; German Aerospace Center), the Forschungszentrum Juelich, the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, the Leibniz Institut fuer Troposphaerenforschung Leipzig (IfT; Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research) and the GFZ Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam (German Research Centre for Geosciences).
The HALO aircraft is a modified business jet with a large cabin for comprehensive instrumentation sets as well as seats for scientific mission attendants. The certified flight height up to lower stratosphere regions in 15.000 meters, the ultra-long range of above 10.000 kilometers or more than 10 flight hours, and the ability to operate in nearly all climatic regions around the globe are prerequisites of an universal research platform.
Amongst the other GFZ participants, Section 1.1 "GPS/GALILEO-Technologies"(also visit their HALO page) and Section 1.3 "Gravity Field and Gravimetry" (also visit their HALO page), the "Earth's Magnetic Field" Section is a member of the GEOHALO group (Geoscientific Earth Observatorium with HALO).
Recently, the GEOHALO group is preparing the GEOHALO mission. Mission target will be the European-African collision zone in the Mediterranean Sea where the African tectonic plate permanently moves to the Eurasian plate. Our subproject: "Structural and kinematic models of the Aegean based on HALO gravity and magnetic data" and the other activities of the group are funded within the Priority Program 1294 "Atmospheric and Earth system research with the High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft (HALO)" of the DFG.
The GEOHALO mission becomes a suitability test for geodetic and geophysical use of HALO. The airborne determination of gravity and magnetic fields of by means of the Aerogravimetric Equipment (ANGEL) as well as scalar and vector magnetometers bridge the gap in spatial resolution of data from the CHAMP and GRACE satellite missions and from local measurements on the ground.
In future, HALO should be exploited for long-range activities in remote areas, such as investigating the Antarctic interior with the planned ANTHALO mission.
For information about the HALO activity of our Section contact Vincent Lesur.
For more details about the HALO project and the participating institutions visit the HALO project site of the DLR.
For details about its modifications see the HALO aircraft page of the DLR.