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Cross-Center Team Conducts Flight Mission to Characterize Radio Frequency Communication for Small Unmanned Aircraft
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Cross-Center Team Conducts Flight Mission to Characterize Radio Frequency Communication for Small Unmanned Aircraft

As part of a larger cross-center NASA team, researchers from the Intelligent Systems Division (Code TI), at NASA Ames Research Center, have successfully completed flight-mission activities under the NASA Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) project. The purpose of this flight mission was to gather relevant flight data towards characterization of the wireless Radio Frequency (RF) communication environment onboard small unmanned aircraft flying at low altitudes across RF spectrums with the potential utilization for air-to-ground and air-to-air communication.

BACKGROUND: This mission involved a cross-center team led by Jaewoo Jung (ARC-AFH), who also leads the Controls and Navigation (C&N) Research Transfer Team (RTT) under UTM. Corey Ippolito (ARC-TI), who co-leads the Safe and Autonomous Flight Environment (SAFE50) task under UTM, served as lead engineer on this mission, providing the flight test vehicle platforms, leading the engineering effort, leading the Center’s engineering airfield flight safety and flight readiness reviews, and leading flight operation activities. The experiment design and payloads were developed by a team of researchers led by Robert Kerczewski (GRC-LCAO) at Glenn Research Center. Flight activities in support of this mission occurred in 22 flights at three different locations around NASA Ames Research Center and Moffett Airfield/NUQ. Flight activities occurred April 3-5 of 2018. Flights were conducted on the NASA S1000 UAS platform fielding a custom-built NASA payload that hosts a programmable software-defined radio system. The mission objectives focused on characterization of land-side cellular system RF and Vehicle-To-Vehicle (V2V) Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) RF.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) project, Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD)


  • Mission Manager: Jaewoo Jung (ARC-AFH)
  • Vehicle Lead / Engineering Lead: Corey Ippolito (ARC-TI)
  • Flight Team: Hemil Modi (ARC-SS / Science & Technology Corp.)
  • Payload Lead: Robert J. Kerczewski (GRC-LCA0)
  • Payload Team: Alan N. Downey (GRC-LCA0 / AST Technologies Inc.) & Konstantin J. Matheou (GRC-LCI0 / Zin Technologies Inc.)

POINT OF CONTACT: Corey Ippolito,

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