Status Report

Draft Rules and draft Team Agreement for NASA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Airspace Operations Challenge

By SpaceRef Editor
August 20, 2013
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The draft Rules and draft Team Agreement for NASA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Airspace Operations Challenge (AOC) have been posted on the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Airspace Operations Challenge webpage:
Potential competitors, technical experts, interested parties, and the public are encouraged to submit comments via the website on the competition structure, requirements, and award metrics that should be added, modified, or deleted.
This Challenge is a competition among unmanned aircraft technology innovators to encourage further development of the technologies necessary for unmanned systems to begin safely using the National Airspace System along with piloted aircraft.
The flight competition will test innovative “sense and avoid” technologies created by various aerospace developers—technologies that are critical to the widespread use of unmanned systems because they help prevent incidents with other aircraft.
In the first phase of the competition, developers will demonstrate basic airmanship and air vehicle technologies through a series of ground and flight events intended to measure key performance capabilities ensuring that air vehicles are safe, sustainable, and practical.  Competitors will need to demonstrate a high level of operational robustness as well as the ability to “sense and avoid” other air traffic.
This phase of competition will be conducted in May 2014 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, which is one of the test ranges comprising the Ohio/Indiana Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Center and Test Complex. Development Projects Inc. of Dayton, OH is managing the challenge for NASA under a Space Act Agreement.
The UAS AOC is part of NASA’s Centennial Challenges Program, in which NASA provides the prize purse and the competitions are managed by non-profit organizations that cover the cost of operations through commercial or private sponsorships.  NASA’s Centennial Challenges seek unconventional solutions to problems of interest to NASA and the nation. Competitors have included private companies, student groups, and independent inventors working outside the traditional aerospace industry. Unlike contracts or grants, prizes are awarded only after solutions are successfully demonstrated.
There have been 24 Centennial Challenges competition events since 2005. NASA has awarded almost $6 million to 16 challenge-winning teams. For more information about the Centennial Challenges program and descriptions of each of the challenge competitions, visit:


SpaceRef staff editor.