NASA drones will study downtown Corpus Christi area this summer

NASA drones will study downtown Corpus Christi area this summer

That may be the words uttered from NASA's Mission Control Center in Corpus Christi this summer at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi's Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence & Innovation.

Officials from NASA's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management project selected Corpus Christi as one of two nationwide test sites. 

"This area has a diverse geographic landscape. We are looking at the downtown areas of Corpus Christi," said Dr. Marcus Johnson, NASA Deputy Project Manager. 

Downtown Corpus Christi also provides the challenges of maneuvering around tall buildings — especially when wind is factored in, Johnson said. 

The project's goal is to collect information on challenges of flying where communications, GPS, tall buildings and community acceptance are factors. 

NASA's ultimate goal is to boost technological and economic growth that comes from the rapid popularity of drone use. 

That's not the only thing that will reap the benefits of unmanned aircraft. 

Public safety agencies will benefit from a better understanding of how drones can help with everyday tasks, without obstructing the public or other aircraft, Johnson said.

The UAS Lone Star Center knows first-hand how drones help in rescue efforts.

"We entered into an interlocal agreement with Nueces County to help police and fire in search and rescue, and recovery with the drones after a disaster," said Michael Sanders, acting executive director of the Lone Star UAS Center. Read more

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