North Dakota Gets NASA Contract for Drone Research

North Dakota’s unmanned aerial systems test site will test an air traffic control system for drones.

NASA awarded the North Dakota Department of Commerce a five-year contract to help with the federal agency’s UAS research. The initial award is $197,950 to try and provide feedback on NASA’s UAS traffic management system.

“NASA has been a strong partner with the FAA over the years working to integrate UAS into the national airspace system, and we are very excited to be a part of the NASA team,” Doug Olsen, project manager with the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Test Site in Grand Forks, said in a statement.

Other local partners for the project test include Sensurion Aerospace, Altavian and Botlink, which will help provide the corporate feedback NASA seeks.

Brian Opp, aerospace development manager for the Commerce Department, said, with its recent expansion, North Dakota’s UAS test site can perform operations across the entire state, which gives the site more flexibility and will hopefully help provide better feedback for commercial use.

Opp said the department is hopeful this project could lead to additional project awards over the five-year agreement period.

“This NASA contract is more confirmation that our ongoing work to establish North Dakota as a national hub for UAS research, development and commercialization is gaining more traction every day,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple said in a statement.

North Dakota has invested more than $34 million to establish the UAS test site and Grand Sky UAS Business Park, according to a Commerce Department statement.


By Jessica Holdman

Via The Bismark Tribune