Thanks to a new partnership, the Lone Star UAS Center (LSUASC) of Excellence and Innovation at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi will be able to monitor a NASA unmanned aircraft system (UAS) flight as it is happening across the country.
A recently completed agreement between LSUASC – which is home to one of the Federal Aviation Administration UAS test sites – and the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., will create new opportunities for the university’s researchers to directly participate in NASA’s secure information network and exchange UAS flight data.
LSUASC has been working under a funded contract with NASA to document and improve information security practices, as well as secure an interconnection security agreement (ISA). According to LSUASC, the ISA establishes important guidelines for connecting information technology systems that are owned by two different organizations.
For example, NASA and LSUASC could conduct UAS flights across the country from each other, but both UAS flight trajectories could be displayed in real time on a moving map in LSUASC’s Mission Control Center (MCC).
According to the university, the ISA is the first step toward LSUASC’s achieving a strong connection to NASA’s network through an authority to operate (ATO), which would benefit researchers across the university by opening new ways of collaborating with NASA and other federal agencies. An ATO would also give university researchers an advantage in competing for grants and other opportunities.
“We are proud to be on the cutting edge of this new technology,” says Dr. Flavius Killebrew, president and CEO of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. “Connecting with NASA safely and securely is key to advancing research partnerships, not only in unmanned aircraft but for other fields, as well.”