Having been appointed a test site operator by the Federal Aviation Administration, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is moving forward with its research on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by conducting test flights over South Texas ranchland.
According to website Aerospace Manufacturing and Design, the university will be using the RS-16 UAV. The UAV features a wingspan of 12 feet, 11 inches. Its maximum take-off weight is 85 pounds, and the RS-16 can reach a maximum speed of 65 knots. In addition, the UAV has a maximum payload of 25 pounds and maximum endurance of 12-16 hours. The UAV has been a part of several missions since Texas A&M acquired it in 2011.
Researchers will train ‘with the onboard multi-spectral camera that acquires video, ultraviolet and thermal images that can be used for mapping sea grass, monitoring pipeline routes, detecting wildfires hotspots or oil spills in the ocean, and counting livestock.’
As the RS-16 conducts its missions, ‘the Command and Control Center back in Corpus Christi will continue development of the technology to track, monitor and receive streaming video from the UAV and the mobile operations center at the launch site.’