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Oneida County awarded NASA contract for air-mobility research at Griffiss Airport

By Eric Reinhardt


Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Jr., seen here in a 2019 file photo, on Aug. 11 announced that NASA had awarded Oneida County a nearly $900,000 contract for advanced air-mobility development at the drone test site at Griffiss International Airport in Rome. (FILE PHOTO CREDIT: ONEIDA COUNTY)

ROME — Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Jr. on Aug. 11 announced that NASA awarded the county an $897,000 task order for advanced air- mobility development through a NASA contract with its UAS test site at Griffiss International Airport.

UAS is short for unmanned-aircraft system. A UAS includes a drone and equipment used to control its flight. A drone is also referred to in the industry as an unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV.

The county’s UAS test site in Rome will conduct research for NASA in automation technology to support “high-density” vertiport operations that allow for vertical take-off and landing of aircraft. 

The Rome test site is one of just seven sanctioned by the Federal Aviation Administration in the U.S.

“Oneida County’s long-standing partnership with NASA has proven to be a productive one,” Picente said. “Together, we have conducted crucial research that has led to transformative advancements in the UAS industry. I look forward to the impact this new collaboration will have on the future of this emerging technology.” 

The task order is part of the advanced air mobility project, which is part of the integrated-aviation systems program of NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, per the news release.

The work conducted will help support the project in understanding barriers to the operation of vertiports, “developing infrastructure requirements needed to increase their scale and maturing automation technologies to support the growth of their traffic,” Oneida County said.

The goal of the research is to develop technology that will support “safe, secure, resilient and efficient,” heavy-lift UAS cargo delivery.

The task is the latest in a line of orders from NASA and will be executed over the next year. Additional work is expected to be awarded as a result, Oneida County said. 

“This new NASA task order has positioned Oneida County to be the leader in Advanced Air Mobility development,” Oneida County Aviation Commissioner Chad Lawrence said. “It is a testament to the high quality of work conducted by our UAS test site and its partners.”               

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