PRESTO Guidance for Submitting PIs

The Project Requests Online (PRESTO) is the submission platform to request one or more of the NSF Lower Atmosphere Observing Facilities (LAOF). We are currently in the beta testing, so that the form questions may be subject to change. PRESTO is managed and maintained by the NCAR Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL) in collaboration with the XSEDE Resource Allocation Service (XRAS). PRESTO guides investigators interested in requesting LAOF through a set of online forms and opportunities to provide required documentation. Listed below are step-by-step instructions to prepare the request information, access the online system, and complete and submit the facility request forms.

Follow the instructions below to request the NCAR/Earth Observing Laboratory, the University of Wyoming, and the Center for Severe Weather Research LAOF.


University of Wyoming King air Update

With the development of the Next Generation King Air, the University of Wyoming will be unable to support any flight requests for a 12 to 18 month period beginning in May of 2022. This includes projects that utilize the UWKA or projects requesting the WCR on the NSF/NCAR C-130.

The Next Generation King Air is expected to come online in the Spring of 2023. Those wanting to request either the UWKA and/or the WCR for projects beginning in May 2023 should work closely with the UWKA facility management team. They expect support for limited payload projects will be available in May 2023 at the earliest. More complex payloads and/or project logistics will likely become supportable later in 2023. The University of Wyoming will continue to update the Next Generation King Air webpage throughout the development of the project.

See the UWKA project Calendar for upcoming projects and scheduling of the UWKA.


Step-by-step Guidance

Step 1: Create an XSEDE user account
Step 2: Prepare PDFs to upload
Step 3: Login to PRESTO
Step 4: Select the appropriate opportunity
Step 5: Provide form question responses
Step 6: Save and continue editing
Step 7: Submit the Facility Request form 

Step 1
Create an 
Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) user account

  • Before accessing the PRESTO Facility Request forms, an XSEDE user account must be created (unless you already have an account).
  • Go to the XSEDE User Portal.
    • PRESTO is using the authentication services of XSEDE, which is an NSF-funded program.1
  • If you have just created an XSEDE account, you will need to log back into and accept the XSEDE Terms of Use prior to being able to log into the PRESTO system.
  • Your XSEDE credentials are the same credentials you will use to log into PRESTO.

If you need to update your existing XSEDE account information, i.e., affiliation, email, phone, follow these steps:

  • Sign in to
  • Select 'Profile'
  • Select 'Edit Profile'
  • Next to 'Organization', use the dropdown menu to select your current organization
  • Click 'Save Changes' at the bottom of the form

Step 2
Prepare PDFs to upload

Prepare the following required and supplemental documents based on the project size and submission phase. Please note that PRESTO only accepts documents that are in PDFs format.

Track 2 & 3 (15 Jan & 15 Jul) 

Prepare the following required PDFs

  • Experiment Design (no more than 15 pages)
    • NOTE: The Observing Facilities Assessment Panel (OFAP) does not have access to the NSF science proposals. Therefore, this document should provide reviewers with adequate details to evaluate whether the requested facilities and the planned use are sufficient to meet the scientific objectives. Include information on all facilities to be involved in the field campaign and not just NSF-supported facilities. Also, a description of the research objectives to be satisfied with the deployment of each facility should be included. Sections of the science proposal may be used in this document. References should be included and count towards the 15-page limit.
  • Data Management Plan could be from the Science Proposal (no page limit)
  • Science overview presentation (no more than six slides)
    • The slides should summarize the experiment design, scientific objectives, and scientific hypotheses to be tested during the campaign and will be used to introduce the project in a neutral and unbiased way to the Observing Facilities Assessment Panel. These slides are not intended to be a holistic view of the project but an overview to initiate a discussion. The limited number of slides is intentional due to time constraints during the discussion session.
  • List of Publications resulting from previous LAOF support (no page limit)
    • Provide all relevant publications for the PI and Co-PIs.
    • Provide relevant publications from the last five years for the investigator team.
    • Group publications from the same campaign together, with a header of the project name and year, LAOF used, publication citation, and digital object identifier. If there are no publications, upload a document indicating so.
  • Roles and Responsibilities Document, no page limit
  • Management Plan, no page limit
  • Science Traceability Matrix, no page limit
  • Program Director email on proposal deadline, no page limit
  • NSF Science Proposal (required to be submitted to when available)

Prepare the following supplementary PDFs; they are not required but helpful

  • Letters of Support / Collaboration (no page limit)
  • Site Survey (no page limit)
  • Completed the appropriate LAOF Aircraft User-Supplied Airborne Instrumentation Form for each instrument (no page limit). Note the forms are specific to either the NSF/NCAR aircraft or the UWKA aircraft.
  • Flight Patterns, if different than what is included in the science proposal (no page limit)
  • Additional facility information, if other relevant information as needed in PDF format that pertains to this request (no page limit)

Step 3 
Login to PRESTO

  • Log in to PRESTO using your XSEDE credentials.

Step 4
Select the appropriate opportunity

  • At this point in the request process, NSF will have informed the corresponding PI about which Track the project will fall under:
    • Track 2
    • Track 3-Straightforward
    • Track 3-Complex
  • Once logged into the request system, select the appropriate opportunity.
  • You will then be directed to the Facility Request form page.

Step 5
Provide form question responses

  • Most responses are yes/no or short answers; the questions are very similar to past Facility Request forms.
  • For radio buttons, select one. 
  • For check boxes, select all that apply. 
  • Only PDFs are accepted where documents are uploaded.
  • You will have the opportunity to save work as you progress and come back to it at a later date by clicking the orange Save to Date button in the lower right corner.
  • You will be able to save and resume partially complete requests and access previously submitted requests.
  • If you need to edit the request, you can do so until the opportunity is closed, by clicking My Facility Requests in the upper left corner and then selecting Edit for the appropriate request.
  • Questions with an icon of a red circle and exclamation point inside indicate the question is required.


Step 6
Save and continue editing

  • Be sure to click Save to Date frequently and before you want to exit the system.
  • You may continue to complete the form or edit your existing responses after selecting Save to Date.
  • To continue editing at a later date, log into PRESTO with your credential and select My Facility Requests in the upper left and then click the Edit icon next to your Facility Request.

Step 7
Submit the Facility Request form

  • Once the form is completed to your satisfaction, and all of the required fields have a response, click the green Submit button at the bottom of the page.
  • A notification will be sent to the provided email indicating the Facility Request has been submitted.


Go to the Projects Request Online (PRESTO) to complete the Facility Request form.

For further assistance, please contact the PRESTO Team:


1The eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) is an NSF-funded program (Award Number: 1053575) to develop an unprecedented, comprehensive, advanced digital services cyberinfrastructure (CI) to enable transformative open science and engineering research and innovative training and educational programs. The goal of XSEDE is to offer users tremendous capabilities with maximum productivity, enabling them to advance and share knowledge across domains. The XSEDE architecture, engineering, operations, support, and education activities are co-designed by an unparalleled team to achieve this goal, far surpassing TeraGrid in usability, reliability, capability, performance, and security, and ultimately, in user productivity and science impact. XSEDE will enable scientists, engineers, and educators to exploit powerful digital services and social networking environments to support knowledge exchange and advance understanding across domains.