Two City Parks to Temporarily Close During Drone Testing

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – In an effort for NASA to develop and improve Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) technology, NASA has collaborated with the Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence and Innovation at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi to conduct testing for the UAS in different situations and conditions in an urban setting. The tests administered will be used for obtaining information on improving air traffic management. NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and other federal partner agencies, are collaborating to develop an Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) system for a future in safe low-altitude airspace and UAS operations. The UTM system operates on principles to avoid vehicle on vehicle collision, locate the aircraft, and avoid collisions with the environment.

“Nearly 50 years after Neil Armstrong said the memorable line, ‘That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,’ NASA has once again taken steps for a huge development in drone technology,” said Michael Sanders, Acting Executive Director of Lone Star UAS. “Drone technology is relatively new but has been proven to be a game changer for future operations regarding assistance to emergency responders, delivering packages, monitoring traffic, and inspections of infrastructures.”

Testing on the UAS will be conducted in downtown Corpus Christi and will create slight diversions throughout the area. On Friday, July 26, the Watergarden Park will be closed from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Monday, July 29, Cole Park will be closed from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Additionally, the area around Tancahua and Carancahua Streets will be marginally affected by the rehearsal, but there are no actual closures.

“These tests matter because we are building layer upon layer to improve the technology so that one day UAS air traffic will be as common as traffic on the roads,” said Jason Casey, Lone Star UAS Project Controller. “We want to ensure that the public feels safe when UAS are in use. The results from tests like these will help the FAA identify requirements for nationwide application. NASA’s UTM will support a new economy of diverse services in our cities that will be made possible by unmanned aircraft.”

An additional round of testing will occur in mid-August and will include designated areas for public viewing.

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