Media Invited To View Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Flight Demonstrations
Headquarters, Washington March 24, 2003
Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif.
Scaled Composites, LLC, Mojave, Calif.
|March 24, 2003
NOTE TO EDITORS: n03-033
News media will have an opportunity April 3, 2003, to see flight
demonstrations of collision-avoidance systems being developed to
enable Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to fly safely in civil airspace
shared with piloted aircraft.
NASA has sought to use UAVs in scientific and commercial applications,
particularly to study the Earth’s environment with high-altitude
long-endurance UAVs. The full potential of UAVs cannot be realized,
however, until they demonstrate the ability to operate safely and
routinely within the existing air-traffic management system.
NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., in cooperation
with Scaled Composites, LLC, Mojave, Calif., has been conducting
flight demonstrations of collision-avoidance systems necessary to
achieve the "equivalent level of safety" of a piloted
aircraft. The ability to sense and avoid conflict is a key step
toward allowing UAVs to fly routinely and reliably in the national
civil airspace. A series of flight evaluations of a "Detect,
See and Avoid" system that can detect "non-cooperative"
aircraft without operating transponders is scheduled for the first
week of April near Mojave, Calif.
As with a prior flight series last year near Las Cruces, N.M., that
focused on "cooperative" transponder-equipped aircraft
the primary test aircraft will be Scaled Composites’ Proteus.
For this series, the Proteus will be equipped with a 35 GHz radar
system intended to detect any approaching aircraft on a potential
collision course, regardless of whether the intruder is equipped
with an operating transponder.
The Proteus and a variety of target aircraft, ranging from a hot-air
balloon to a high-speed NASA F/A-18 jet, will fly 22 different simulated-conflict
scenarios over a three-day period. During the flight demonstrations,
Proteus will be controlled remotely by a pilot in a ground station.
Radar data will be relayed to the ground station via either a line-of-sight
telemetry link or an over-the-horizon satellite link, and the ground
pilot will command the Proteus to change course as needed.
News media representatives will have the opportunity to view the
flight demonstrations and speak with project engineers and pilots
on Thursday, April 3, beginning at 10 a.m. Pacific time at Scaled
Composites’ Hangar 77 at the Mojave Airport. Representatives
of NASA, Scaled Composites and Modern Technology Solutions Inc.,
Alexandria, Va., will be available to brief reporters and respond
to their questions. In addition, media representatives will have
an opportunity to view the ground station in action during a flight,
as well as most of the aircraft being flown in the demonstrations.
Background materials, including B-roll video for television journalists,
will be available.
Media representatives planning to attend should contact either Patti
Bird at Scaled Composites at (661) 824-4541 or Alan Brown at Dryden
at (661) 276-2665, no later than April 1 for accreditation, security
clearance and directions to the site. All media representatives
must be U.S. citizens.
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