January 7, 2014: After a rigorous 10-month selection process involving 25 proposals from 24 states, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced the selection of six unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) research and test site operators on December 30. One of the selected sites is the Pan-Pacific UAS Test Range Complex, led by the University of Alaska.This teamincludes UAS test ranges in Alaska, Oregon and Hawaii. Near Space Corporation’s Johnson Near Space Center (JNSC) is one of three sites located in Oregon.
“The importance of the FAA selection is that Near Space Corporation will be heavily involved in conducting the required research, with a variety of academic, commercial, and government partners, to safely adopt the technological advantages of UAS for high-value uses,” said Tim Lachenmeier, NSC President. This research will be conducted in remote and sparsely populated areas. Examples are marine and atmospheric research, emergency management and disaster response, search and rescue, forestry, and precision agriculture.
Oregon proposed three Test Ranges to be included in the test site: the JNSC, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, and the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport, located in Pendleton. “The Oregon team developed an important contribution to the proposed effort”, said Eric Simpkins, state proposal team lead. “Our partners include Oregon State University, Economic Development of Central Oregon and more than a dozen companies representing the UAS industry.”
An overarching component of this award is the FAA’s requirement that each Test Site operate within a strict set of privacy policies and procedures that are subject to FAA and public review.
Association Unmanned Vehicle System International, the UAS industry’s trade association, estimates that 100,000 new jobs will be created by 2025. It is also estimated that the economic impact of UAS will total $82 billion in the period from 2015 through 2025. “States that create favorable regulatory and business environments for the UAS industry and the technology will likely siphon jobs away from states that do not,” the AUVSI reported.
Near Space Corporation launches its first flight with the NASA Flight Opportunities Program
January 24, 2013: Near Space Corporation (NSC) launched its first balloon flight with the NASA Flight Opportunities Program on Sunday January 20th. NSC has completed more than 160 balloon flights since it began operating from Tillamook, Oregon in 1996. This was the first balloon launch with the NASA Flight Opportunities Program.
NSC worked with a research team from the New Mexico Institute Of Mining And Technology (NMT) to launch their scientific payload to just over 20 miles above the earth’s surface. The Principal Investigator, Dr. Andrei Zagrai, has worked with his team for several months to develop their payload, the Structural Health Monitoring System for commercial spacecrafts. This payload and associated research has been sponsored by the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation through its Commercial Space Transportation Center of Excellence with contributions from AFRL Space Vehicles and New Mexico Tech.Hardware components were provided by Metis Design, LORD Microstrain, and Los Alamos National Laboratory. The system is designed to monitor the structural integrity of space vehicles and is an important element in maintaining their safety throughout their system lifecycle. This particular flight tested the NMT sensors and wireless communications equipment at high altitude which closely simulates a space- like environment. This is a crucial step in developing sensors and related systems that can be integrated into space vehicles to alert operators when structural integrity has been compromised or degraded.
The balloon was launched on Sunday January 20 around noon from Madras, Oregon. The balloon ascended to an altitude of 108,000 feet and the NMT payload was deployed. Following a 2 hour data collection period, the balloon flight was terminated and the payload floated back to earth using a recovery parachute. The Structural Health Monitoring system was able to successfully collect important data which will be used for further analysis and research.
NASA Flight Opportunities Program has a multi-year contract with NSC to provide commercial balloon flights.
About Near Space Corporation:
NSC has completed more than 160 balloon flights since it began operating from Tillamook, Oregon in 1996. Its management team has more than 75 years of combined experience designing, building, and operating high altitude balloons. This includes the creation of a wide variety of platforms to support Earth atmospheric research, space technology development, and planetary exploration missions. The company specializes in providing affordable solutions to NASA, NOAA, DOD, and commercial aerospace customers. In addition to its Tillamook facility, NSC also maintains launch sites in Madras, Oregon and South Point, Hawaii. Visit http://www.nsc.aero for more information.
About the NASA Flight Opportunities Program:
The goal of NASA's Flight Opportunities Program is to develop and provide opportunities using commercially available platforms for space technologies to be demonstrated and validated in relevant environments. These technologies are expected to benefit NASA and other government agencies, U.S. commercial industries, and the public. Visit https://flightopportunities.nasa.gov for more information.
February 27, 2012: Near Space Corporation (NSC), one of seven suborbital flight providers selected to support the NASA Flight Opportunities Program, is proud to announce the creation of the first commercial high altitude balloon flight facility. Located in Tillamook, Oregon, the $6.9 million first phase will include 31,000 square feet of construction. It will serve as NSC headquarters and will house engineering, manufacturing, payload integration, and flight operations at a single location. The new facility will enable an unprecedented level of responsiveness and an increased capacity to meet the growing needs of NSC customers.
Designed by LRS Architects of Portland, Oregon, the facility will serve as a central element within the new Port of Tillamook Bay Airport Business Park. Key features will include the balloon launch circle, the observation tower, the payload integration hangar, the engineering and administration offices, and the balloon production wing. Construction is planned to begin this spring, and NSC will move into the facility during the fall of 2012.
Commercial balloon flights to near space will be launched from the new facility, including several of those reserved through the NASA Flight Opportunities Program. Payloads ranging in mass from hundreds of grams to thousands of kilograms will be lofted to altitudes up to and exceeding 130,000 feet (approximately 40 kilometers) above sea level. At those heights, vital scientific research experiments and new technology demonstrations will be carried out in a space-like environment above 99% of Earth’s atmosphere.
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Click Here To Download Ground-level View of Facility
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