NASA Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration in the National Airspace System (NAS) Project Presentations

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The following collection of presentations from the NASA Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration in the National Airspace System (NAS) Project details efforts to integrate drones into the national airspace including technical problems with frequency allocation as well as technologies designed to avoid mid-air collisions.  The document is available from the Department of Commerce’s National Technical Information Service, or Download below

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration in the National Airspace System (NAS) Project Subcommittee Final

  • 228 pages
  • June 2012
  • 8.86 MB


Airspace Integration Technical Challenge

 Barriers Being Addressed by NASA

– Uncertainty surrounding the ability of UAS to interoperate in air traffic control (ATC) environments and maintain safe separation from other aircraft in the absence of an on board pilot

– Lack of requirements for Sense and Avoid (SAA) systems and their interoperability with Separation Assurance (SA) functions

– Lack of standards and guidelines with respect to UAS display/information

– Lack of civil safety of flight frequency spectrum allocation for UAS control and non-payload communication (CNPC) data link communications

• Project Contributions to Advance the State of the Art (SOA)

– We will analyze capacity, efficiency and safety impacts of SAA equipped UAS in the ATC environment to validate the requirements for SAA and SA/SAA interoperability through simulation and flight tests

– We will evaluate ground control station (GCS) system human intervention in automated systems to inform and validate standards for UAS GCSs through prototyping, simulation and flight tests

– We will develop and validate candidate UAS CNPC system prototype proposed performance requirements to validate that candidate civil UAS spectrum is secure, scalable, and suitable for safety of flight operations

Risk Management

• Actively managing 18 risks

• One Integrated Systems Research Program Risk for UAS

–Changes in project focus due to external influences

•Two Project top risks

– Realism of predicted UAS mission profiles and NAS UAS traffic estimates

– Overload of information to UAS pilots/operators

– One accepted risk

– Budget restriction impacting travel plans

– Target criticality (Likelihood and Consequence) in the Green zone for all risks

Related Material From the Archive:

  1. NASA Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration in the National Airspace System (NAS) Project
  2. FAA Integration of Civil Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the National Airspace System (NAS) Roadmap
  3. Joint Advanced Warfighting School Thesis on Problems Integrating Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System
  4. DoD Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Airspace Integration Plan
  5. U.S. Army Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Ground Based Sense and Avoid (GBSAA) Airspace Integration
  6. DoD Report to Congress on Future Unmanned Aircraft Systems Training and Operations
  7. DoD Current and Projected Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Inventory Levels Through 2017
  8. U.S. Joint Planning and Development Office NextGen Unmanned Aircraft Systems R&D Roadmap

Department of Defense Airspace Integration Integrated Product Team (AI IPT)
MTSI supports DoD UAS Airspace Integration (AI) through the OSD(AT&L) UAS Task Force AI Integrated Product Team (IPT). The AI IPT mission is to review and assess operational requirements, identify acquisition solutions, assist in the development of UAS technical standards, and recommend training and policy changes necessary to fully integrate UAS into all necessary classes of airspace within the National Airspace System (NAS) in support of DoD requirements. In support of this effort, MTSI supports multiple IPTs working to solve the challenges associated with UAS Airworthiness, Operations, Pilot Qualifications, Sense and Avoid (SAA), Frequency and Spectrum, etc. MTSI also authors and edits the DoD Airspace Integration Plan outlining DoD’s strategy for integrating UASs into the NAS.

Airspace Integration Plan - March 2011 Airspace Integration Plan – March 2011 (PDF)

Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS)
BAMS is the unmanned complement to the Navy’s P-8, which together are the successor to its P-3 maritime patrol aircraft. The Navy selected the RQ-4N Global Hawk as the BAMS aircraft in 2008. MTSI supports the BAMS Program Office by developing the BAMS Airspace Integration CONOPs, managing mission requirements decomposition, developing use cases, developing the SAA certification plan, guiding the safety analysis effort and leading the Operator Working Group.

Global Hawk Sense and Avoid System Analysis
MTSI performed a quick-response modeling effort to quantify sensor and algorithm performance requirements for a Global Hawk (GH) collision avoidance capability. The study consisted of two primary encounter modeling elements: (1) a thorough characterization of the Global Hawk collision potential expected during NAS operations, and, (2) establishment of baseline SAA system performance requirements.

DHS Customs and Boarder Protection (CBP) UAS Support
DHS CBP is deploying its Predator B UASs from the Canadian border to the Caribbean. MTSI is providing acquisition, engineering and operations support to develop UAS CONOPs, requirements and architectures; perform modeling & simulation and test & evaluation support; perform airspace safety analysis; support AMOC-B transition; and provide life cycle cost estimates for various platforms.

NASA Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration in the National

Communications Subproject – NASAAeronautics Research

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2 thoughts on “NASA Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration in the National Airspace System (NAS) Project Presentations

  1. Pingback: Its a bird. Its a plane. Its the FAA’s Integration of Civil Unmmaned Aircraft Systems in the National Airspace System Roadmap. First Edition. | Security Collective

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