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Jonas Dino                                                                                                                  August 8, 2003

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Phone: 650/604-5612 or 604-9000

E-mail: Jonas.Dino@nasa.gov


RELEASE: 03-56AR

NOTE TO EDITORS AND NEWS DIRECTORS: News media are invited to cover a dedication ceremony for a new Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Applications Center located in Bldg. 18 at the corner of Bushnell and McCord streets in NASA Research Park adjacent to NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., on Monday, August 11 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. To reach Ames, take the Moffett Field exit from Highway 101, drive east to the main gate and enter the visitor badging office to obtain a map and directions. News media representatives must have valid photo ID in order to gain entry. Please plan to arrive about 20 minutes early to complete security inspections.

NASA TO DEDICATE NEW UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY CENTER

New and exciting applications for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) will be the focus of a new technology center to be dedicated on Monday Aug. 11, 2003 at NASA Research Park (NRP) next to NASA Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley.

For several years, NASA and its partners have been developing technologies to monitor wildfires, floods, crops and other regions using a variety of remotely piloted aircraft. The new Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Application Center will bring together NASA, other government agencies, universities, students and industry to develop new UAV technologies.

"The UAV Applications Center embodies one of our major goals Ð to encourage NASA, governments, academia and industry to work together," said G. Scott Hubbard, director of NASA Ames. By combining our knowledge, cooperative efforts like this one create great opportunities for inventing even better technology," he added.

Hubbard is slated to be one of the keynote speakers at the dedication, in addition to Clark University President John Bassett and Nancy Budwig, the university's dean of research. Another keynote presenter will be Paul Coleman, president of the Girvan Institute of Technology, Moffett Field, Calif. Girvan is a non-profit corporation chartered to foster public-private partnerships for NASA.

The main objective of the new center is to demonstrate the commercial and research uses of UAVs equipped with sensors," said Stanley Herwitz, director of the new center at NRP and professor of Earth science from Clark University, Worcester, Mass. "Although UAVs now must have special permits from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly in conventional air space, UAVs may well be treated by air traffic controllers like conventionally piloted aircraft in the future. Our research takes that into account," Herwitz added.

"We plan to provide new, challenging educational opportunities and transfer innovative technology to the marketplace," Herwitz said. Officials plan to bring Clark University students to the UAV center to analyze aerial images and other UAV-acquired data.

The U.S. Forest Service is interested in learning how to use UAVs to monitor wildfires, according to Herwitz. "We are working to enhance remote sensing capabilities by UAVs functioning like mobile satellites," he explained. Remote sensing is the use of sensors by satellites and aircraft to take images of parts of the Earth's surface in many wavelengths, some beyond the reach of the human eye. This technology enables scientists to quickly deduce surface conditions over a wide area, the equal of hundreds of hours of observation on the ground.

UAVs also may be used for homeland security, monitoring disaster emergency response or any other airborne use that involves near real-time data transfer to end users. In addition, the Herwitz team is slated to receive a group achievement award from NASA for the group's UAV Coffee demonstration project that the team conducted in Hawaii in 2002.

A UAV aircraft designer also will be housed in the UAV center, which is located in a premiere historic building in the NASA Research Park. The building also served as a weather center for the U.S. Navy for many years.

More information about the UAV center can be found on the World Wide Web at:

http://www.uav-applications.org

For more information on NASA Research Park, visit:

http://researchpark.arc.nasa.gov/

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