NASA to brief flight demonstration of enabling technologies for UAVs in controlled airspace

SAN DIEGO – U.S. aerospace experts will brief industry next month on a planned summer 2020 flight demonstration of enabling technologies that could help unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) fly side-by-side safely with commercial aircraft in controlled airspace.

Oct 5th, 2017
NASA to brief flight demonstration of enabling technologies for UAVs in controlled airspace
NASA to brief flight demonstration of enabling technologies for UAVs in controlled airspace
SAN DIEGO – U.S. aerospace experts will brief industry next month on a planned summer 2020 flight demonstration of enabling technologies that could help unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) fly side-by-side safely with commercial aircraft in controlled airspace.

Officials of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) issued a sources-sought notice Wednesday for the unmanned aerial system (UAS) integration in the national airspace (NAS) systems integration demonstration industry workshop -- better-known as UAS-NAS -- which will be 30 Nov. 2017 at the Kimpton Solamar Hotel, 435 6th Avenue at J Street, in San Diego.

Without adequate safeguards, government officials fear unmanned aircraft pose an unacceptable risk of collision or interference with commercial and general-aviation aircraft operating in congested airspace around the nation's busiest airports.

The UAS-NAS project provides research findings to the aerospace industry to help bring unmanned aircraft into the national airspace using integrated system level testing.

Since its inception in 2011, the UAS-NAS project has focused on standards and enabling technologies for detect-and-avoid and command and control technologies that could enable military and civil unmanned aircraft to operate safely in controlled airspace.

Related: NASA reaches out to industry to determine state of the art in UAV sense and avoid avionics

Ultimately the project is to advance the overall state of the art for the technologies necessary to achieve full performance-based unmanned aircraft access to the NAS.

Towards this goal, UAS-NAS project will conduct a flight demonstration in summer 2020 to capitalize on the latest integrated detect-and-avoid, command-and-control, and unmanned aircraft technologies with a pathway towards certification.

The flight demonstration will focus on operations in controlled airspace 500 feet or more above the ground with unmanned aircraft larger than 55 pounds. Results of these demonstration will help government and industry craft and comply with aviation regulations that govern unmanned aircraft operations in controlled airspace.

NASA also will compile information for a publicly available generic toolkit for similar unmanned aircraft vehicles with similar performance characteristics.

Related: MQ-4C UAV moves closer to operating safely in civil airspace with sense-and-avoid capability

The 30 Nov. briefings morning session will inform industry NASA plans for the summer 2020 flight demonstration, and promote collaborative discussion in the afternoon.

NASA officials say attendees should include aircraft manufacturers, avionics and sensor integrators, communications providers, employees of government test sites, aviation service providers, and others who are interested in testing unmanned aircraft technologies.

Those interested in attending should email NASA's Robert Sakahara, manager of the UAS-NAS project, at robert.d.sakahara@nasa.gov, or NASA's Jamie Turner at jamie.m.turner@nasa.gov.

More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/NASA/DFRC/OPDC20220/80AFRC180001_RFI/listing.html.

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