NewsLocal News


Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence partners with NASA

Posted at 6:10 AM, Jan 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-11 15:59:03-05


Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is one of only seven FAA test sites in the nation selected to facilitate testing and research on Unmanned Aircraft System.

Since the Center was founded in 2012, it has grown by leaps and bounds, and now it works closely with the FAA and NASA.

The purpose for The Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence and Innovation is to help develop policy and procedures to safely integrate drones or unmanned aerial systems into the national airspace.

“What we have seen is exponential growth of the use of drones in the air space both as hobby, but also for commercial applications as well. Since the Lone Star Center was founded in 2012 for example, we’ve conducted over 3,172 flights, for the equivalent of about 940 hours of flights within the Coastal Bend and the Southern Texas area,” said LSUASC acting executive director Mike Sanders.

Two months ago, the Center signed an interlocal agreement with Nueces County to provide support in response to future natural disasters in the county.

“We now can provide additional support in response to a disaster to the public agencies in the county through the Emergency County Operations Center. So that is an example how we are able to take this cutting edge technology and our research development and apply it in a public safety setting that I don’t believe we would have been able to do if it hadn’t been for the history that we did or the evolution of our capabilities from 2012 until now,” said Sanders.

With the growing demand for the commercial applications of drones, the Center has teamed up with NASA to work on the Urban Air Mobility Grand Challenge.

“They are talking about not only unmanned drones or drones used for package delivery for example, but they are also talking about the use of drones or unmanned systems for people moving as well,” Sanders said. “I think people are very familiar with the driverless car concept, the same thing is happening with drone uses as well, so you have either a driver assisted or driverless air taxi that you can use within a city.”

This will be the focus of future activity with the Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence and Innovation , along with the FAA and NASA for the next five or possibly 10 years.

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is a system of aviation and technological expertise authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration to create an environment for research, development, testing and evaluation of unmanned aircraft systems.

The Center represents a statewide team of research institutions, private-sector service providers, non-profit corporations and state agencies that bid successfully for an FAA UAS test site.

With more UAS becoming available to hobbyists and available for commercial use, the research data and testing conducted by LSUASC, NASA and the FAA will ensure that large-scale UAS low-altitude operations are integrated into the national airspace safely.

Through LSUASC efforts, the Island University provides safety and security to America’s skies by serving as a National Credentialing Center, serving industries like oil and gas, providing infrastructure inspection, assisting in development, precision agriculture, disaster response, security and more.

For more information on the Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence, visit