Guidelines : ArcticShark Missions in FY2024


The U.S. Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) user facility has closed its call for preliminary proposals from scientists to deploy ARM’s ArcticShark uncrewed aerial system in fiscal year 2024 to support the Biological and Environmental Research (BER) program’s scientific interests in the region of ARM’s Southern Great Plains (SGP) atmospheric observatory.

Proposal and Flight Timelines

The call timeline is as follows:

  • Preproposal deadline: November 1, 2023.
  • Invited abbreviated proposals are due December 22, 2023.
  • The award selection is expected before January 31, 2024.

Proposals should include scientific goals utilizing both the ArcticShark and SGP measurements. Proposals can request flights of the ArcticShark in one of three time periods: May, July, or September 2024 during an approximate 20-day window.

Payload Options

Two payload options are available and, if sufficient justification is provided, may be exchanged two or fewer times during the 20-day period. The option of adding guest instruments to the payload is not supported at this time.

View the ArcticShark payload options.

Flight Requirements

The ArcticShark will take off from and land at the Blackwell-Tonkawa Municipal Airport (BKN; 36.74475 N, 97.34918 W). Flights will be limited to a rectangular operating area bounded by the following four corners:

  • 36.79167 N, 97.32083 W
  • 36.46667 N, 97.32083 W
  • 36.46667 N, 97.68917 W
  • 36.79167 N, 97.68917 W.

Minimum flight altitudes will be 600 feet above ground level (AGL) but along a reasonable number of preselected and presurveyed routes (1,000 ft otherwise). Maximum flight altitudes are 6,500 ft above mean sea level (MSL) when outside the blue triangle shown below and 17,500 ft MSL inside the triangle. Proposals shall identify the desired spatial and altitude domain (within the limitations stated above). Actual maximum flight altitude will be governed by the temperature profile encountered (i.e., lower at warmer temperatures).

Download .kml files: Authorized flight boundary and 17,500-ft area.

All flights have to maintain legal separation from clouds (500 ft below, 1,000 ft above, 2,000 ft lateral). Flights into clouds or precipitation or outside of daylight hours are not allowed.

Maximum flight duration with the current payloads could be as long as 6 hours, but practically, a maximum flight duration of 5 hours should be considered.

Submitting Your Preproposal and Next Steps

Preproposals should:

  • include scientific goals utilizing both the ArcticShark and SGP measurements with a focus on BER strategic goals
  • indicate during which one of the three time periods offered—May, July, or September 2024—the flights shall occur
  • discuss notional flight patterns (geographical area, altitudes) and how they link to the proposed science using one or both of the existing payloads.

Feedback on preproposals with encourage/discourage decisions will be sent to principal investigators by December 1, 2023. Abbreviated proposals will be due December 22, 2023.

Questions regarding this call should be asked through the Ask Us link, which is located at the bottom of every ARM web page (select “Campaigns and Accessing ARM Facilities”).

Research Funding

Please note that for successful proposals, ARM provides the operational and logistical resources to conduct the proposed mission. However, ARM does not provide research funding associated with the mission.