NASA will collaborate with General Atomics’ aeronautical systems business, PAE ISR and Textron‘s Bell subsidiary on a two-year project to demonstrate commercial unmanned aircraft systems through various flight missions.
The space agency said Wednesday it selected the three UAS developers to conduct multiple flight demonstrations at an altitude of more than 500 feet by 2020 under cooperative agreements worth up to $11.07M combined.
The contracts will consist of $4.6M cash and $6.47 million in-kind support.
According to NASA, its industry partners under the Systems Integration and Operationalization activity will also equip UAS platforms with command-and-control and detect-and-avoid technologies.
The agency seeks to address development, integration and certification challenges that may hinder commercial drone operations in the National Airspace System.
NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California will oversee the project.