National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will replace their venerable Douglas DC-8 jetliner with a Boeing 777-246ER.
The Triple Seven, formerly operated by Japan Airlines (JAL) as JA704J (msn 32892/435), was stored at Victorville/Southern California Logistics (CA) since May 2020. On 15 December 2022, the aircraft flew with US registration N774LG from the storage airfield to Langley AFB (VA) where it will be modified at the NASA Langley Research Centre.
According to NASA's FY23 budget documents, the Boeing 777 was acquired in their FY22 budget for under USD 30 million.
NASA's DC-8-72, registration N817NA/817 (msn 46082/458), is a highly modified jetliner operated as a flying science laboratory. The aircraft, based at the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Centre facility in Palmdale (CA), is used to collect data for experiments in support of projects serving the world's scientific community. The aircraft, built in 1969 and acquired by NASA in 1985, incorporates a suite of sensors and data systems and provides services that can be tailored to specific missions or instruments.
It is not known yet when the Boeing 777 is ready to replace the DC-8. Scramble Magazine assesses this will take several years for the modifications and testing before the DC-8 can be withdrawn from use.
Photo by Anton Homma