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Two Unmanned Aircraft Put to the Test as New South Texas FAA Test Site Prepares for Operation

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas, March 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi continued its preparations to be fully operational as one of only six federal test sites for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) with another series of test flight missions this week over South Texas ranchland.

Texas A&M University Logo

Researchers have been conducting missions twice a day with the University's RS-16 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), and another UAV owned by American Aerospace Advisors. See the Island University's UAV in action.

The UAVs pilots are on the ground controlling and monitoring it. The flights last about two hours, flying over the coastline and collecting data for university researchers that can be used for mapping sea grass, monitoring pipeline routes, detecting wildfires hotspots or oil spills in the ocean, and counting livestock.

"With each test flight, we are building on our own research data that can lead to conclusions on the best ways to safely integrate UAS into our national airspace," said Dr. David Bridges, Director of UAS Program.

Back in the Mission Control Center in Corpus Christi, technicians with Camber

Corporation, one of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi's 15 partners in this test site, worked to refine and improve capabilities to track, monitor, and receive streaming video from the UAVs and the mobile operations center at the launch site. See inside Mission Control (B-Roll and SOTS).

 "All of the technology we are packing into Mission Control is up and communicating clearly with the operations at the ranch launch site," said Dr. Ron George, Senior Research Development Officer. "We'll be open for business soon." 

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi's Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence and Innovation was selected by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a test site in December. See the test ranges of the Lone Star UAS Center. That designation is expected to bring other UAS researchers to the South Texas, an anticipated economic impact of $8 billion statewide, and $260 million in South Texas over the next 10 years; creating about 1,200 jobs.

See more photos and learn more about the Island University's designation as an FAA test site.

High Resolution Photos and Video:
Flickr slideshow 
YouTube Video Link 
B-Roll and SOTS

About the College of Science and Engineering: The College of Science and Engineering offers cutting-edge programs supported by award-winning faculty deeply-invested in education and the growth and continuation of knowledge from one generation to the next. As one of the leading institutions for coastal, marine, and environmental research, the College is committed to maintaining an academic environment in which students develop as dynamic professionals who will make significant contributions to society. The College is the academic home of faculty endowed by the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, one of the foremost leaders in the support and advancement of the long-term use and conservation of the world's ninth largest body of water. The College also houses the Conrad Blucher Institute for Surveying and Science, a center of geospatial research and coastal monitoring in the Gulf of Mexico and the Center for Coastal Studies, recognized internationally for research in harmful algae and their toxins.

About Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi: Offering more than 60 of the most popular degree programs in the state, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi has proudly provided a solid academic reputation, renowned faculty, and highly-rated degree programs since 1947.  The Island University has earned its spot as a premier doctoral-granting institution, supporting two research institutes and 10 research centers and labs. Discover your island at tamucc.edu.

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SOURCE Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

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