NASA and GA-ASI partner to bring command-and-control satellite link to Predator B drone

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.-Engineers at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) will develop and flight test new command-and-control satellite link capabilities on Ikhana, a Predator B unmanned aircraft system (UAS).

"With growing interest in using remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) for civil missions, we expect our work with NASA to open the door for increased confidence in operating these aircraft in the National Airspace System," explains Frank Pace, president of the Aircraft Systems Group at GA-ASI. "We are pleased to renew our commitment to NASA and to help expand the utility of Ikhana to Arctic missions."

NASA and General Atomics are developing a satellite control link for the Predator B unmanned aerial vehicle, shown above.
NASA and General Atomics are developing a satellite control link for the Predator B unmanned aerial vehicle, shown above.

NASA and GA-ASI, working under a no-cost Space Act Agreement, will upgrade the command-and-control system of NASA's MQ-9 Predator B to enable aircraft operations in more remote geographical regions. The upgraded aircraft will be used to conduct systems testing and evaluation flights.

"The system improvements enabled by this agreement expand the utility of the Ikhana MQ-9 for NASA science and the development of technology required for unmanned air systems to fly in the national airspace," says NASA Dryden Center Director David McBride. "Both are key national priorities that benefit from this government/industry cooperative effort."

"This new capability will allow Ikhana to support NASA science missions at higher latitudes where many important geophysical processes must be studied," says Bob Curry, NASA Dryden chief scientist. "In recent years, unmanned aircraft have demonstrated transformational opportunities for Earth science airborne research, particularly due to their very long endurance capability. They can also reduce the need to expose aircrew to remote and unforgiving environments."

NASA is using the aircraft in advanced flight research activities, including those paving the way for opening up the National Airspace System (NAS) to unmanned aircraft systems operation, in addition to its role in advancing science.

The next mission for NASA's Predator B aircraft, planned for the summer of 2013, is the Marginal Ice Zone Observations and Processes Experiment (MIZOPEX). NASA will provide the aircraft system and its associated engineering, technical, and operational staff to support Ikhana's mission to carry science instruments designed to investigate ice changes in the Arctic.

James Maslanik of the University of Colorado at Boulder leads the MIZOPEX team of scientists; the science project manager is John Adler of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Ikhana was manufactured by GA-ASI and delivered to NASA in 2006.

Ikhana carried the NASA-developed Autonomous Modular Scanner for the multi-year Western States Fire Mission in 2007 and 2008 that investigated fires in the Western United States, especially California. Working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the remotely piloted aircraft flew in the NAS, with its sensor delivering near-real-time wildfire information to incident commanders in the field.

Ikhana, capable of reaching altitudes above 40,000 feet and flying for more than 20 hours, underwent a major retrofit that included integrating redundant avionics, wingtip antennas, laser altimeters, centerline hard points, and greater electrical power generation capability.


Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:


  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles


Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:


  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles

Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

Flexible Printed Circuit Board

Flexible Printed Circuit Boards are one of the most popular types of circuit boards used in a var...

Rigid Printed Circuit Boards

Rigid printed circuit boards can only meet diverse industrial applications if the best materials ...

Printed Circuit Board Assembly

Printed Circuit Board Assembly (PCB ASSY) is as critical a process as circuit board manufacturing.

UniSlide® Stages

UniSlide Assemblies deliver precise movement in one, two or three dimensions with linear motion. ...

Velmex VXM™ Motor Controller

Velmex VXM Controller Systems are integral components of the power systems that efficiently drive...

Velmex XSlide™ Stages

The Velmex XSlide Assembly is a compact positioning stage highly suitable for high performance in...

BiSlide® Stages

Velmex manual or motorized BiSlide positioning stage's modular design makes it highly configurabl...

Video Borescope ORION

Ø 4mm (0.16”) to 10mm (0.44”)Working Lengths: up to 30 meters (98')3.5” color LCD display, with 7...

Rigid Video Borescope HERON-A with Tip Articulation

CMOS Camera Chip: 450,000 pixels 340° Rotation of the Probe Articulating Tip (180˚in each directi...

Micro Borescope Ultra Thin

German made, it is the best choice for extremely small inspection areas, with diameters as small ...

Related Companies

A-FLEX

Provides customized Printed Circuit Board fabrication in California. The entire process can be customized according t...

Uniforce Sales and Engineering

Provides solutions to machine vision and image acquisition in many applications, including in the fields of medical, ...

Velmex Inc

Manufactures linear and rotary motion-control positioning equipment for scientific, research, photonics, machining an...

TASC Technical & Assembly Services Corporation Electronic Equipment Manufacturing

Electronic Manufacturing sub-contractor. Circuit Board assembly, Cable Assembly, Wire Harness Assembly, Box Build Ass...

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc

GA-ASI is a leading manufacturer of proven, reliable Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-opt...

BellowsTech LLC

Develops, designs and manufactures metal bellows using edge welded bellows technology. Expertise in design, machining...

HC Controls Inc

Specialists in design, installation, commissioning, calibration, training and support services to aero engine test fa...

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions

About Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions (CWDS) is a long established techno...

Medit Inc

Supplies remote visual inspection devices. The company is one of the important players in the industry, serving clien...

DDC-I Inc

Offers complete solutions for embedded software developers with a focus on mission- and safety-critical applications....
Wire News provided by   

Press Releases

Model INCX-4001

The INCX-4001 consists of a high quality audio transceiver specifically designed to implement a complete fiber optic intercom.

Model PS-1210

The PS-1210 is a 1A, 12VDC stand-alone or rack mountable non-switcher (no RF noise) power supply.

Model OS-3121

Optical switches are utilized to disconnect, bypass and reroute fiber optic communications. All of these optical switches are purely optical path, there is no optical to e...

Webcasts

New Design Tools That Help You Develop Radar That Sees the Un-seeable and Detects the Undetectable

Xilinx EW/ISR System Architect, Luke Miller, has new tricks and he’s going to tell you all about them in a new Xilinx Webinar—for free. His Webinar will cover new ways to implement Radar functions including ...
Sponsored by:

All Access Sponsors


Mil & Aero Magazine

July 2015
Volume 26, Issue 7
file

Download Our Apps



iPhone

iPad

Android

Follow Us On...



Newsletters

Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information
SUBSCRIBE

Cyber Security

Monthly newsletter covering cyber warfare, cyber security, information warfare, and information security technologies, products, contracts, and procurement opportunities
SUBSCRIBE

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers
SUBSCRIBE

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.
SUBSCRIBE

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications
SUBSCRIBE

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles
SUBSCRIBE