Over the past few years NASA has been testing and validating research associated with unmanned aircraft through a project called Unmanned Aircraft System Integration in the National Airspace System or UAS in the NAS project. This project spanned several years and addressed many of the early concerns of how unmanned aircraft would be integrated into our national airspace. After years of study the UAS in the NAS project has tackled many of the early concerns but one last big hurdle remains to successfully demonstrate how unmanned aircraft will work in harmony within the national airspace. With this in mind the final phase of testing is called the Systems Integration and Operationalization Demonstration activity or SIO. The goal of SIO is to work toward commercial UAS operations in the NAS. In order to accomplish that goal, NASA has partnered with American Aerospace Technology Incorporated (AATI), Bell, and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems
(GA-ASI), Inc. to conduct fight demonstrations in the NAS that emulate commercial missions and begin working toward Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) type certification. On this episode of NASA X, we will take a look back at years of testing and development that have led up to the SIO demonstration flights. We’ll meet the companies that are making these flights happen.