The Active Sensing of CO<sub>2</sub> Emissions over Nights, Days, and Seasons (ASCENDS) CarbonHawk Experiment Simulator (ACES) is a NASA Langley Research Center instrument funded by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate that seeks to advance technologies critical to measuring atmospheric column carbon dioxide (CO<sub>2</sub>) mixing ratios in support of the NASA ASCENDS mission. The ACES instrument, an Intensity-Modulated Continuous-Wave (IM-CW) lidar, was designed for high-altitude aircraft operations and can be directly applied to space instrumentation to meet the ASCENDS mission requirements. Airborne flight campaigns have been used to demonstrate ACES’ advanced technologies critical for a spaceborne instrument with lower platform consumption of size, mass, and power, and with improved performance. ACES recently flew on the NASA DC-8 aircraft during the 2017 NASA ASCENDS/Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) airborne measurement campaign to test ASCENDS-related technologies in the challenging Arctic environment. Data were collected over a wide variety of surface reflectivities, terrain, and atmospheric conditions during the campaign’s eight research flights. ACES also flew during the 2017 and 2018 Atmospheric Carbon and Transport – America (ACT-America) Earth Venture Suborbital - 2 (EVS-2) campaigns along with the primary ACT-America CO<sub>2</sub> lidar, Harris Corporation’s Multi-Frequency Fiber Laser Lidar (MFLL). Regional CO<sub>2</sub> distributions of the lower atmosphere were observed from the C-130 aircraft during the ACT-America campaigns in support of ACT-America’s science objectives. The airborne lidars provide unique remote data that complement data from more traditional in situ sensors. This presentation shows the applications of CO<sub>2</sub> lidars in meeting these science needs from airborne platforms and an eventual spacecraft.