Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s Lone Star Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center of Excellence & Innovation (LSUASC) has met federal requirements to begin full operations as a test site for unmanned aircraft.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) designated the center as one of only six test sites in December, and approved it as operational on Friday, June 20.
“We are excited to welcome the flourishing industry of unmanned aerial systems to South Texas,” said Dr. Flavius Killebrew, President/CEO of Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. “Our research in this important area is boundless.”
The test sites are designed to collect data for the FAA concerning the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the national airspace, which is expected in 2015.
In the six months since the test site designation, the Lone Star UAS Center has been preparing to receive private companies and other organizations that want to test and research aircraft, software or other possible uses for unmanned aircraft, commonly referred to as drones. The operational status of the Padre range, south of Corpus Christi near Sarita, Texas, signals the start of official data collection to the FAA. See a map of the test ranges at lsuasc.tamucc.edu.
“The Texas test site will provide critical data to the FAA, which they need to develop rules, processes and procedures required to safely operate UAS in the national airspace,” said Dr. Luis Cifuentes, Vice President of Research, Commercialization and Outreach at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. “Texas is open for research, development, testing and evaluation offering diverse geography and climates.”
“The Lone Star UAS Center provides testing capabilities 290 flying days a year over mountains, high deserts, agriculture, coastal and maritime topographies, along the Gulf of Mexico and over virtually unpopulated regions. It’s the ideal research environment for testing.” Cifuentes said.
The center will fly its first mission as a fully operational test site the week of June 23.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com