NASA has confirmed the operational status of two unmanned aircraft systems that Vanilla Aircraft and Black Swift Technologies separately developed through the space agency’s Small Business Innovative Research program.
NASA said Tuesday Vanilla Aircraft’s VA001 and Black Swift’s S2 small UAS are both designed to support scientific investigations.
VA001 works to operate in austere conditions with temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit, lift 35 pounds of payload, fly for 56 consecutive hours with only one tank of fuel and elevate at up to 15,000 feet above seal level.
S2 was initially made as a portable UAS that is able to cover 705 acres in 90 minutes with a full payload, NASA noted.
The space agency added Black Swift later equipped the sUAS with a University of Colorado-developed specialized radiometer designed to detect energy generated by surrounding objects.
Scientists may apply the sUAS’ energy-reading features to further study soil-moisture levels to support drought monitoring, flood prediction and crop productivity.