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Drone Flight Testing Above the Ames Campus

A small Unmanned Aircraft System drone is flown at Ames Research Center in December 2021.
NASA /Jonas Jonsson

NASA researchers are conducting flights of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) drones above Ames Research Center to test the coordination of wide-spread drone flights for potential emergency operations.  This effort, called Scalable Traffic Management for Emergency Operations (STEReO), is a two-year activity for evaluating innovative communication approaches that enable aircraft traffic management and autonomous aircraft capabilities to support emergency responders. These flights assess ongoing hardware and software development, plus they ensure readiness for a live demonstration with external partners such as the US Forest Service and CalFIRE.  These missions are providing the foundation for increased utilization of sUAS and autonomous technologies, including critical infrastructure inspection, wildfire suppression and security.  The capability to navigate the NASA flight protocols and employ these technologies may be helpful for other NASA centers as well, especially for infrastructure inspections.  The Smart Mobility at Ames group, a functional team within the Aeronautics Projects Office, enabled the flight operations by working closely with the researchers and the aviation management office.  STEReO is an initiative of the Convergent Aeronautics Solutions (CAS) project.  More information on STEReO is at



Last Updated
Dec 19, 2023