“It was scary, a little bit. You didn’t know if was going to land,” CBS anchor Jasmine Viel said, describing watching the plane flying by. “Everyone kind of stopped in their cars, looking up. It was big and loud.”
— Deputy Dan Paige (@LasdDan) July 23, 2019
According to Flightaware.com, the plane took off from Palmdale Regional Airport located north of Los Angeles, and flew 2,359 miles through central California and across Nevada before landing in Gowen Field in Boise, Idaho.
“NASA operates a highly modified Douglas DC-8 jetliner as a flying science laboratory. The aircraft, based at the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center facility in Palmdale, California, is used to collect data for experiments in support of projects serving the world's scientific community. Federal, state, academic and foreign investigators are among those who use NASA’s DC-8,” NASA writes on its website.
The DC-8 is used by NASA for testing in several domains, such as sensor development, satellite sensor verification, space vehicle launch or reentry telemetry data retrieval and optical tracking as well as research into Earth's surface and atmosphere, NASA reports.
NASA did not respond to Sputnik’s request for information on why the jetliner was flying at such a low altitude when it was spotted by locals.