EDWARDS, Calif. – NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center recently awarded contracts to six research and development firms to assist the center in meeting the goals of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration in the National Airspace System, or UAS in the NAS, project. In addition, cooperative agreements were issued to four universities to perform similar research functions to aid the project.
The awards were made in connection with a June 2010 NASA Research Announcement solicitation that was intended to fill key gaps in the current NASA research and technology portfolio in the areas of modeling and simulation, separation assurance and sense and avoid, systems analysis, certification and test techniques for unmanned aircraft systems.
Current Federal Aviation Administration safety of flight rules and certification standards were written with the assumption of having a pilot aboard the aircraft. These standards limit operation of unmanned aircraft systems in the national airspace. The goal of NASA's UAS in the NAS project is to reduce technical barriers related to the safety and operational challenges associated with enabling routine access for unmanned aircraft systems to the NAS.
The combined value of the contracts to the six firms covering seven specific tasks and the four university cooperative agreements comes to just less than $12.6 million.
Contracts were awarded to the following firms, with the specific tasks and values noted:
- LE Tech, Santa Fe, N.M., Development of a Portfolio Analysis Tool, $2,969,481.
- Sensis Corporation, Campbell, Calif., Systems Analysis of UAS Integration in the NAS, $2,846,766.
- Intelligent Automation, Inc., Rockville, Md., Modeling and Simulation for UAS in the NAS, $2,500,000.
- The Boeing Company, Huntington Beach, Calif., Modeling and Simulation for UAS in the NAS, $1,002,233.
- Honeywell International, Albuquerque, N.M., Separation Assurance and Sense and Avoid, $942,582.
- Sensis Corporation, Campbell, Calif., UAS Analysis and Simulation Capabilities for UAS Research, $367,399.
- Modern Technology Solutions, Alexandria, Va., Alternative Classification Schemes for UAS Integration in the NAS, $341,039.
The cooperative agreements with the four universities cover two specific tasks, with each task being performed by two of the institutions. They include:
- The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich., $246,192; and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Fla., $730,541,to define a UAS classification scheme and approach to determining Federal Aviation Regulation airworthiness requirements applicable to all UAS digital avionics.
- Utah State University, Logan, Utah, $299,867; and New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, N.M., $344,082, to integrate and test mature concepts from technical elements to demonstrate and test viability; evaluate the performance of technology development in a relevant environment, including full-mission, human-in-the-loop simulations and flight tests.
For more information about NASA's UAS in the NAS project, visit:
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