NASA SIO Flight Demonstration

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc and NASA are partnering to perform a demonstration flight as part of the agency’s project to integrate Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System (NAS). The objective of the demonstration is to tackle key challenges that prevent routine commercial UAS operations in the NAS today, including development, integration, and certification of UAS and the technologies required for safe operation with other manned and unmanned aircraft traffic in the NAS.

On display will be the GA-ASI-developed Detect and Avoid (DAA) system that enables RPA to fly safely in civil airspace alongside manned aircraft. The DAA system consists of an air-to-air Due Regard Radar and processor integrated with Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS II). The system’s collision-avoidance radar provides an essential safety feature for integrating unmanned aircraft into civil airspace.

As part of the demonstration, GA-ASI’s MQ-9B SkyGuardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) will exhibit its ability to provide a wide variety of commercial and public services using onboard sensors and additional ‘virtual sensors’ that it could carry in the future. Services include inspections of hundreds of miles of rail, energy pipeline, powerline and canal infrastructure, agriculture monitoring and topological surveys, as well as wildfire and flood monitoring, and maritime surveillance.