NASA Offers Guidance for Drone Use Viewing Antares Launch
Drone operators are being urged to exercise caution if using the aircraft to view the May 20 Antares rocket launch and avoid flying over the public and NASA Wallops Flight Facility property.
Personal drones, also called unmanned aerial systems, provide a different viewing perspective when someone is looking for dramatic or unusual video.
Trying to capture that dramatic image of a rocket launch, such as the May 20 mission of Orbital ATK’s Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, is no exception.
Doug Voss, deputy chief of Wallops’ Range and Mission Management Office, said “We don’t want to prevent drone operators from getting that perfect launch video. However, we also are obligated to making sure that the viewing public is safe and that drones do not pose a threat to the success and safety of launch operations.”
Operators should adhere to Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
There will be several thousand people in the area viewing the launch. When using drones, operators should not fly over crowds. Public safety is paramount.
Finally, to not pose a hazard to launch operations, drones should not fly over NASA Wallops Flight Facility property, the marsh areas between Wallops Island and the mainland and over the Atlantic Ocean east of Wallops Island.
Voss said, “We want to make this a safe and successful launch experience for everyone. We think this can be accomplished if everyone follows established drone operation guidelines and the aircraft do not pose a hazard to the public and launch operations.”