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Aug. 27, 2002

John Bluck                                                                             

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Phone: 650/604-5026 or 650/604-9000


Vida Mossman

Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii

Phone: 808/335-4740

Angela Bazydlo

Clark University, Worcester, Mass.

Phone: 508/793-7635

Release: 02-97AR


Reporters are invited to a media day on Thursday, Sept. 26, to view a solar-powered airplane that will fly over the largest coffee plantation in the United States, located on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

Media day starts at 9 a.m. Hawaiian Standard Time at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on the island of Kauai.

The flights over the coffee fields will test the commercial use of a solar-powered uninhabited aerial vehicle (UAV) for precision agriculture. This technology might be used in the future for the management of other crops, as well as during natural disasters and in other emergency situations where digital aerial images are needed quickly.

UAVs are remotely piloted aircraft. Researchers envision that ultimately these aircraft will be authorized to fly over wildfires, floods and crops to take images that would help forest firefighters, disaster relief workers and farmers.

Reporters will be able to ask questions of Dr. Stanley Herwitz, who is the principal investigator of the UAV Coffee Project and a professor of Earth science at Clark University, Worcester, Mass. He will lead a research staff on Kauai of more than 10 team members from NASA Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley. Members of the demonstration team also will be available for interviews.

Reporters will be able to view the ripening coffee fields that will be analyzed during the demonstration project. The data gathered will aid in a coffee company's harvest operation.

On media day, representatives of news organizations should assemble at the PMRF visitors’ main gate at 8:45 a.m. Hawaiian Standard Time to board a NASA vehicle for escort to the runway and hangar utilized by the Pathfinder Plus aircraft. For security purposes, persons who do not pre-register by noon EDT on Sept. 16 will not be allowed into the facility. Media representatives unsure whether or not they will attend are encouraged to register by the deadline, even if they must later cancel.

All persons wishing to attend the media day must provide the following information to NASA Public Affairs by no later than noon EDT Sept. 16:



Social Security Number

Date of Birth

Telephone Number

All information must be sent via fax or e-mail by noon EDT Sept. 16 to:



           Phone: 202/358-1730

           FAX: 202/358-4210

More information about the Coffee Project can be found on the Internet at:



Publication-size images related to the UAV Coffee Project are available at:





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