Duran Duran Rocked the Rocket Garden at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex with Concert and Choreographed Drone Light Performance by Studio Drift

On Tuesday, July 16 Duran Duran performed at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (KSCVC) in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11’s mission to the Moon. This was the sole anniversary event at the location of the mission’s launch five decades ago today. The iconic British band collaborated with renowned artist duo Studio Drift, whose artwork Franchise Freedom was brought to life by hundreds of Intel® Shooting Star™ drones at the top of the show, as the band performed ‘The Universe Alone’ together with a 40-piece choir and 16-piece orchestra. The epic performance took place in the Rocket Garden of KSCVC. Profits from the concert’s ticket sales benefited the Aldrin Family Foundation’s STEAM education programs.

Watch the highlights from the awe-inspiring show, along with interviews with Studio Drift co-founder Ralph Nauta and renown physicist and astronomer Professor Brian Cox, members of Duran Duran and astronauts Mike Collins (Apollo 11), Rusty Schiekert (Apollo 9), Gerry Griffin (Apollo flight director) and Charlie Duke (Apollo 16)

Nauta said, “The Apollo 11 Moon landing exemplifies what technology can do for humanity. We’re ready and excited for the next 50 years.”

Keyboardist and Duran Duran co-founder Nick Rhodes said, “The indelible impact of the Moon landing has been one of Duran Duran’s main sources of inspiration. In the last half-century there have been very few events that have captured the world’s attention and united everyone in such a positive way. We are truly thrilled and honored to be a part of the 50-year celebration of the Apollo 11 mission, the performance tonight, at KSCVC where the launch took place.”

Grand Sky among first in the world to purchase the Northrop Grumman Firebird

Firebird Aircraft System is a game changer in commercial market due to range, altitude, endurance, and sensor payload capabilities in the UAS industry

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Grand Sky Development Company, LLC (Grand Sky) signed a deposit agreement with Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) to purchaseFirebird, the company’s optionally piloted intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft system.

Northrop Grumman’s Firebird product line delivers medium-altitude, long-endurance multi-mission flexibility and unbeatable value. Available in manned, autonomous and optionally piloted configurations, Firebird is designed to deliver critical ISR capability to meet customer mission needs.

“We are excited to bring Firebird to Grand Sky to utilize its long-endurance and variable payload capabilities for commercial customers. Our initial goal is to support energy infrastructure monitoring and humanitarian and disaster relief operations by leveraging Firebird’s range, altitude and endurance,” Grand Sky Development Co. President Thomas Swoyer Jr., said. “We see the incredible efficiencies to be gained in the market with technology like Firebird enabling affordable data gathering on a massive scale not previously available to the commercial market space.”

Grand Sky is the nation’s first commercial unmanned aerial system (UAS) testing and training center and is home to one of Northrop Grumman’s North Dakota locations. Built to support large UAS operations, the services and capabilities at Grand Sky will help define how drones are used based on their ability to collect large amounts of different types of data. Firebird has capabilities to meet critical information gaps for Grand Sky’s clients and partners. It is capable of multiple mission sets using many sensors that enable data collection for a variety of customers on every mission. The aircraft can reach anywhere in the country, operating for 30 or more hours and simultaneously support multiple missions.

Firebird brings efficiency to the commercial market that doesn’t currently exist. Firebird will be based at Grand Sky, and after launch can fly anywhere in the country, staying on station for multiple hours before returning. Firebird mission capabilities include ISR, domestic security, emergency response, communications, humanitarian, and scientific efforts.

“Grand Sky is pleased to bring this transformational concept to the UAS industry. We saw a void in the industry and knew that the ability to provide a service that no one else can support is imperative to move various industries forward,” Swoyer said. “The goal is to have the aircraft deployed around the country on a variety of missions. Our ability to map vast areas, stay “on-station” over an area for long periods of time to support emergency response or to reach remote areas is unmatched. No small UAS or small UAS swarm can match the capability and versatility of Firebird.”

The addition of Firebird will provide Grand Sky’s clients with access to a truly unique UAS operational capability and data collection system, in addition to better facilities, comprehensive airspace surveillance, and wide operational areas.

About Grand Sky

Grand Sky is the first commercial UAS-focused business park in the United States. Located on Grand Forks Air Force Base near Grand Forks, North Dakota, the 217-acre business and aviation park provides unmanned aerial systems (UAS) industry tenants with unmatched research, development, training testing amenities, including authorization for large UAS BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) flights in partnership with the Northern Plains UAS Test Site. Grand Sky offers 1.2 million square feet of hangar, office, shop, laboratory and data collection space available on a build-to-suit basis with financing available. For more information, visit grandskynd.com

South Florida First Responders Team Up with AIRT to hold 2nd Annual UAS DRONES Disaster Exercise at Florida International University

Participants battle tropical heat to conduct live UAS flight drills including maritime aerial reconnaissance, damage assessment, force protection, and other disaster simulations.

MIAMI – The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season is well underway and while Hurricane Barry was busy causing havoc along the Louisiana coast, South Florida first responders were busy practicing how they would use unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to help respond to a major storm landfall in their region.

Members of Florida Task Force 2 Urban Search and Rescue Team (FL-TF-2 USAR) from the City of Miami Fire Department joined members of the Miami Beach Fire Department, Florida International University (FIU), and North Carolina State University’s Department of Emergency Management for the 2nd annual UAS DRONES Disaster Exercise coordinated by AIRT (Airborne International Response Team) at FIU’s Biscayne Bay campus July 12-13.

The primary objective of the UAS DRONES Disaster Exercise was to provide a realistic testing environment to assess the various capabilities of first responder drone teams during a large-scale incident response. Specific UAS evolutions included:

1. Island/Maritime Search Operation

2. Aerial Reconnaissance

3. Damage Assessment

4. Situation Awareness Live Streaming

5. Mapping

6. Force Protection Overwatch

“We’ve already seen the potential that drones offer to help change the landscape surrounding emergency management,” says Christopher Todd, Executive Director, AIRT. “UAS flight teams now need to hone and demonstrate their capabilities to respond effectively to real-world incidents.”

Todd says the UAS exercise at FIU represents a unique event in that unmanned systems are the focal point each evolution rather than an ancillary element of a much larger scenario. This means participating flights teams receive significantly greater time operating UAS in a variety of situations – exposure they don’t typically receive at most disaster exercises.

Juan Ramón Mestas, Deputy Chief of the Miami Beach Fire Department agrees.

“The exercise at FIU allows our drone crews to focus on developing proficiency across a variety of disaster mission scenarios, rather than just experiencing a single exercise mission,” Mestas says. “This helps build their confidence and skill toward operating UAS under different types of responses.”

Participating teams also battled the hot and humid South Florida climate. With high humidity and temperatures in the 90’s, remote pilots had to monitor both the condition of their equipment and their crews.

“While we strive for technical proficiency in executing the UAS mission, we also want to ensure our flight teams are making the right decisions while operating in these extreme conditions,” says Lt. Mark Moore, Deputy Emergency Manager for the City of Miami Fire Department.

Moore says responders need to take a wholistic stance on safety when operating drones in extreme weather environments. Staying hydrated, using adequate sun protection, and watching for signs of heatstroke are just a few of the additional perils that can detrimentally affect UAS operations in tropical climates like South Florida.

For Justine Hollingshead, the Chief of Staff and Assistant Vice Chancellor at NC State University, the harsh conditions reminded her of the days flying drones in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in North Carolina last September.

“It was hot, it was humid, and it reminded everyone that successfully emergency response operations involve much more than fancy technology,” said Hollingshead. “The FIU exercise provided the type of environment for drone operations that you just won’t experience in a table-top simulation.”

Hollingshead credits AIRT and FIU for working together to develop the comprehensive weekend program to help better train first responders, academia, and other responding agencies. It’s a format that she believes could bring value to North Carolina.

“I’ll be sharing my experiences in Florida with our leadership and other stakeholders in North Carolina,” Hollingshead said. “It is my hope that we can learn from this event to help strengthen emergency drone operations at NC State and beyond.”

While Todd was pleased with the exercise outcomes, he says there is still a great deal of work to be done – especially surrounding data management and geospatial information systems (GIS).

“We are now more prepared than ever to successfully operate drones during disaster operations,” Todd says. “Now we must move beyond operating the drone and shift the focus to conducting actual remote sensing and harvesting data resulting in actionable intelligence for emergency management.”

About AIRT

AIRT® (Airborne Incident Response Team) is a Florida-registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides innovative aviation and aerospace resources to help prepare for, respond to, and recover from complex emergencies and major disasters. AIRT is building the World’s Largest Air Force® for #aviationforgood. Our global remote pilot network is ready to #getup whenever disaster strikes. For more information, visit: http://airt.ngo

Blue Bear launches game changing Mobile Command and Control System (MCCS)

Blue Bear Group are excited to announce the launch of our new, state of the art Mobile Command and Control System (MCCS). The MCCS brings together Blue Bear’s capability in ground control stations (GCS), C2 and mission systems, Geospatial Information Systems (GIS), imagery exploitation and dissemination, recognised air picture, and recognised maritime picture technology to provide a fully mobile solution for unmanned systems operation anywhere in the world.

The MCCS also features a full Live, Virtual and Constructive (LVC) suite, providing Concepts Of Operations (CONOPS) experimentation, training, mission rehearsal, and After Action Review (AAR) capabilities.

The MCCS fully exploits Blue Bear’s open architectures and modular systems to allow plug and play capability in the LVC environment and also for the mission systems. New types of sensors can be plugged in to further enhance the systems capability as technology evolves.

Although only launched in July, the MCCS is already set to be deployed for the next 6 months on key MOD trials around the UK and on NATO/EDA agency trials in 2020.

CEO Yoge Patel highlights that ‘Blue Bear continues to be dedicated to providing end-to-end managed services and facilities for flight testing and advanced vehicle systems. We are always evolving our capabilities to match current and future market needs. Our new Mobile Command and Control System provides the capability to bring any test and evaluation facility to life, however remote.

Blue Bear’s dedicated commitment to enhancing flight testing in the UK will continue to expand and evolve, and working with technology partners will ensure the UK ecosystem can deliver world class technical solutions which can be exported globally.’


Altitude Angel launches world’s first UTM Conflict Resolution Service – preventing drone collisions

Altitude Angel, the world’s foremost UTM (Unmanned Traffic Management) technology provider, has today announced it is to launch the world’s first UTM ‘conflict resolution service’ as an API, and in doing so has taken a huge step towards allowing automated drone flights to become day-to-day reality.

Using this service, any pilot or operator can securely check for conflicts in their drone flights quickly and easily, using the firm’s tried-and-trusted safety technology.

Available via Altitude Angel’s developer platform and powered by its GuardianUTM operating system services, the Conflict Resolution Service (CRS) addresses some of the key risks which prevent BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) operations today.

Automated drones flying BVLOS have so far not been realised on a commercial scale due, in large part, to the inability of drone technology to be able to ‘deal with the unexpected’ – other aircraft or drones, obstacles or airspace closures which weren’t foreseeable before the flight happened, or, would previously have been ‘dealt with’ by a human pilot. CRS goes a step beyond, helping implementers to react in a coordinated and predictable manner, contributing to increased airspace safety.

If concepts such as Amazon drone deliveries and Uber’s flying taxis are to be realised, there is an immediate need to make sure the thousands of drones in the sky are operating safely and can manage circumstances where a conflict might arise either pre-flight or during flight. Now, using CRS, drones and drone pilots can store flight plans with a globally-distributed and reliable service without needing to exchange private or potentially sensitive data with each other, while benefiting from an immediate pre-flight conflict resolution advice.

CRS will come in two classes:

Strategic CRS

Conflict resolution information is provided to a drone operator during the flight planning phase (pre-flight phase) of the operation by comparing it to other previously submitted flight plans, against ground and airspace geofenced areas available in Altitude Angel’s worldwide data feeds. The system will then propose alterations to the take-off time and/or route to eliminate the conflict, suggesting minimally invasive changes to permit the mission to continue unobstructed. Developers and drone manufacturers can utilise CRS to securely share flight plan data and opt-in to ‘global conflict resolution’, where all flight plans which have been shared will be checked for conflicts. ‘Private’ modes exist for fleet operators who only want to check for conflicts against their own drones or customers.

Tactical CRS

Tactical CRS will provide information to drone pilots or the drone itself to ensure separation is maintained during the in-flight phase. The dynamic system will continuously monitor the airspace around an aircraft for the ‘unexpected’ such as other aerial vehicles or changes to airspace (such as a Temporary Flight Restriction/Dynamic Geofence around a police incident). After identifying a potential conflict, CRS will make the necessary routing adjustments, allowing the drone to maintain an appropriate separation standard between other airspace users or fly around restricted airspace so it can continue safely (and efficiently) to its destination.

Richard Parker, Altitude Angel, CEO and founder said: “The launch of our Conflict Resolution Service cannot be underestimated. It is a massive step forward, a ‘game changer’, for not only Altitude Angel, but for the future of automated flight. The ability for drones and automated aircraft to strategically plan flights, be made aware of potential conflict, and alter their route accordingly is critical in ensuring safety in our skies. This first step is all about pre-flight coordination, between drone pilots, fleet operators and other UTM companies.

“The tactical component of CRS answers the biggest challenge BVLOS flight brings; how do you deal with the unexpected. Being able to predict and resolve conflict mid-flight by providing appropriate and timely guidance will revolutionise automated flight. CRS is one of the critical building blocks on which the drone and automated flight industries will grow.”

Altitude Angel will launch CRS in two phases, with Strategic being online from 23 July and Tactical CRS in September.

CRS represents a significant investment from Altitude Angel and will be subject to continuous future updates and additional functionality, as confidence and capability grow, and as the firm takes more of its ground-breaking technology from R&D to production.

Terra Drone gains footing in Central Asia with investment in leading Kazakh company KazUAV

Japan-based Terra Drone Corporation, one of the leading industrial drone solution providers in the world, is announcing the continuation of its global expansion with investment in a leading UAV company in Kazakhstan, KazUAV. With this investment, KazUAV joins Terra Drone’s network of over 25 group companies and technology partners that are committed to providing cutting-edge yet cost-effective drone services across the globe.

Established in 2016, KazUAV is a known name in Kazakhstan’s drone ecosystem, having provided GIS services to several government agencies and private companies. In 2018, at the request of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), KazUAV mapped six airports in the country, totaling a surveyed area of 4 million hectares. The drone company is also registered to provide surveillance drone services to the Kazakhstani special forces.

As part of Terra Drone group, KazUAV will leverage globally-proven technologies to provide myriad drone-based services and solutions in Kazakhstan. These include power line inspection and vegetation management for the energy sector; onshore/offshore infrastructure inspections, tanks inspections, and nondestructive testing for the oil and gas industry; and open-pit and underground mapping services for the mining sector. KazUAV will also continue to provide mapping and GIS services to the construction and agriculture sectors, apart from offering drone-based surveillance in emergencies like wildfires and floods. The company will also sell drones, sensors, and other related hardware to local customers.

According to Toru Tokushige, CEO, Terra Drone Corporation, “With 3% of the world’s total oil reserves in Kazakhstan, the production of oil and gas in the country is witnessing a year-on-year increase. As a leading provider of drone-based solutions for the oil and gas industry, the time is ripe for Terra Drone to gain a footing in Central Asia with this investment.”

Garkushin Eugeniy, CEO, KazUAV says “The goal to become the top drone company in the world is incredibly complex and ambitious. We are very pleased that having assessed our results and potential, Terra Drone chose KazUAV as its partner in the Republic of Kazakhstan. Thanks to this step, all advanced foreign technologies will be available to our customers in surveying, power generation, construction, oil and gas, and other areas. Kazakhstan will now become part of the global unmanned aircraft community as one of the youngest but largest markets.”

With more than 25 group companies already in its network, Terra Drone takes pride in collaborating with cutting-edge drone technology providers.If you also want to support Terra Drone on its quest to generate aerial innovations that have a lasting impact on communities the world over, please contact [email protected]

Terra Drone

PCL Construction and 3DR Sign Multiyear Drone Software Agreement

PCL Construction and 3DR sign multiyear drone software agreement for unlimited use of Site Scan on PCL projects.

PCL has entered into a three-year corporate licensing agreement with 3DR to make their Unmanned Aircraft Systems (drone) software, Site Scan, available for unlimited use on all PCL projects, worldwide.

PCL Construction started working with 3DR in 2016 to leverage drone technology for site documentation, quality control, progress reporting, and more. 3DR’s platform, Site Scan, includes an iPad app for drone flight planning and a web application for turning drone photos into precise maps as well as 3D models of construction sites. It also allows project teams to share updates with owners and project stakeholders. It’s been used on more than 30 PCL projects across North America, and with this agreement, PCL is standardizing Site Scan as its drone software platform across the company.

“Site Scan has changed the way teams communicate on the jobsite,” said Deron Brown, President and COO, PCL’s U.S. operations. “Using this straightforward tool has improved our on-site documentation of existing conditions, work in place, and as-builts. Site Scan’s workflows are efficient and produce repeatable results that easily integrate into our existing software and systems.”

With this partnership, 3DR will continue to collaborate with PCL to tailor the Site Scan platform to meet the needs of large construction and civil engineering firms.

“As the construction industry looks to innovate and improve collaboration, efficiency, and safety, PCL has set the bar for how construction companies leverage drone technology to achieve these goals,” said Chris Anderson, CEO for 3DR. “As a customer from the earliest days of Site Scan, PCL has helped shape our software, and I am excited about formalizing our partnership, and the value they see in standardizing on 3DR.”

Advancing innovation in the industry is important to both PCL Construction and 3DR. Both companies are excited to continue finding new and efficient ways to collect and use data.

About 3DR

3DR is a drone technology company based in Berkeley, California. Its flagship product, Site Scan, is a complete drone data platform built for construction and engineering professionals to help them build and manage the physical world. Site Scan, a secure, scalable platform, makes it safe and easy for businesses and public agencies to collect, process, and share aerial data. For more information on 3DR, visit 3dr.com.

About PCL Construction

PCL is a group of independent construction companies that carries out work across the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and in Australia. These diverse operations in the civil infrastructure, heavy industrial, and buildings markets are supported by a strategic presence in 31 major centers. Together, these companies have an annual construction volume of $7 billion, making PCL one of the largest contracting organizations in North America. Watch us build at PCL.com.

PECORA 21- ISRSE 38 Conference Continuous Monitoring of Our Changing Planet: from Sensors to Decisions

The American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing:

The Imaging and Geospatial Information Society is hosting a joint meeting of the 21st William T.Pecora Memorial Remote Sensing Symposium (Pecora 21) and the 38th International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment (ISRSE-38) in Baltimore, Maryland, USA from October 6 – 11, 2019. The combined conference will be hosted by NASA, NOAA and the USGS, with an overarching theme of “Continuous Monitoring of Our Changing Planet: from Sensors to Decisions.”

This year’s conference will have over 35 special presentations along with a fantastic line-up of Keynote speakers: Dr. Giberto Camera, Dr. Michael Freilich, and Dr. Stephen Volz. Dr. Câmara is a Brazilian researcher in geoinformatics, spatial analysis, land-use change, and nature-society interactions, from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE).Dr. Câmara is currently Secretariat Director for the Group on Earth Observations (GEO). Dr. Freilich is an accomplished oceanographer, microwave remote sensing expert, educator, and science administrator who directed NASA’s Earth Science Division from November 2016 through February 2019. Dr. Volz has 26 years of professional experience in aerospace. He is a leader in the international earth observation community, serving as the NOAA Principal to the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS). Dr. Volz is currently the NOAA Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services.

To find out more information please visit https://www.asprs.org/event/pecora21-isrse38

Medical Cargo Drones Training

International health organizations, governments, major donors, non-governmental organizations and companies are increasingly looking to use cargo drones to improve public health services. So what does it actually take to run cargo drone deliveries for public health? Far more than most realize.

Participants in the this WeRobotics Online Training course will learn everything they need to know to design, implement, evaluate and partner on successful medical cargo drone projects. The course cuts through the hype and unpacks many of the assumptions that currently drive the discourse in the cargo drone space. As such, the course provides an objective, empirical and candid overview of the current state of cargo drones in health.

Please see the course syllabus for a detailed overview of the topics and issues that participants will become well versed in. To get the most out of this self-paced course, we recommend that participants dedicate up to 12 hours in total. That said, the course can also be completed within 8 hours.

ParaZero’s SafeAir Unlocks Flight Over People in Canada With Popular Phantom and Mavic Drones

SafeAir Mavic during ASTM testing

ParaZero Technologies, the world leader in safety systems for commercial drones, is pleased to announce that its ASTM compliant SafeAir Systems for the DJI Phantom 4 Series and DJI Mavic 2 Series complies with the latest Transport Canada regulations for operations over people. This allows licensed operators using the SafeAir Mavic + ASTM Professional Kit and the SafeAir Phantom + ASTM Professional Kit to operate over people, effective immediately.

On June 1st, 2019, Transport Canada’s new rules for flying Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) in Canada came into effect. These rules are divided into two categories, basic and advanced. Advanced operations include flights in controlled airspace, flights near people and flights over people.

The framework developed by TC allows manufacturers or modifiers of RPAS to declare compliance with the requirements of each of the three advanced operations. While DJI has already declared compliance for these RPAS for operations in controlled airspace and operations near people (5 to 30 meters horizontally from people), operations over people are only permitted with ParaZero’s SafeAir Systems + ASTM Professional Kit.

ParaZero’s declaration of compliance with the TC regulation is supported by the SafeAir’s compliance with ASTM F3322-18 Standard Specification for RPAS Parachutes. The industry consensus standard requires over 45 aerial deployments of the parachute system in all failure scenarios validated by a 3rd party testing agency.

“We have been studying TC’s new regulations and determining what testing and documentation we would need in order to comply,” said Avi Lozowick, VP of Policy and Strategy at ParaZero. “The ASTM F3322-18 Standard was an excellent starting point and was specifically referenced by TC. Through the ASTM testing, 3rd party validation and customer adoption, our system has proven to be the best-performing system on the market, and we are proud to have them enable the expanded use of drones in Canada and elsewhere.”

“Transport Canada’s new regulations and manufacturer declaration framework are a truly innovative approach to drone regulation,” said Eden Attias, CEO of ParaZero. “The fact that operators are not required to apply for specific approvals and waivers to unlock the capability of flight over people reduces significant friction from the process and allows the Canadian drone industry to continue to innovate and excel.”

ParaZero has led the industry in developing technology and compliant products to enable safe and legal flight over people. To date, ParaZero’s SafeAir Systems are the first and only ASTM compliant parachute systems that are in use in the United States under Federal Aviation Authority waivers for operations over people.


ParaZero (www.parazero.com) offers smart and intuitive solutions for commercial and professional drone markets to enable drone industry growth by designing, developing and providing best-in-class autonomous safety systems.