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NASA, General Atomics Sign Cooperative Agreement on Large UAS Demo Flight

Jeff Brody

General Atomics will collaborate with NASA to demonstrate a flight mission of an  MQ-9B SkyGuardian remotely piloted aircraft in 2020 under a cooperative agreement.

The company said Monday it aims to showcase the potential of MQ-9B RPA to support infrastructure inspection, agricultural and disaster monitoring, maritime surveillance and surveying efforts with the use of onboard and virtual sensors.

NASA is working with industry in efforts to integrate and ensure safety of commercial unmanned aircraft system operations in national airspace.

Linden Blue, CEO of General Atomics' aeronautical systems business, said both parties have "a shared goal of seeing UAS fly safely and unencumbered in the NAS."

Blue added that the unit has worked with the agency over the past five years on that objective and will support in upcoming test flights.

The team finished a critical design review on Sept. 18 and the company noted that next year's demonstration will exhibit detect-and-avoid, command-and-control datalink systems.

General Atomics and NASA will fly SkyGuardian to conduct public infrastructure surveys over the city of San Diego as part of the UAS Integration Pilot Program.

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