Mississippi State University's Raspet Flight Research Laboratory designated as the FAA's UAS Safety Research Facility

Mississippi State University’s (MSU) Raspet Flight Research Laboratory has been designated as the FAA’s UAS Safety Research Facility.

This designation puts the research center at the forefront of studying and developing safety and certification standards as UAS continue to be integrated into U.S. airspace. 

“Mississippi State University is a national research leader in many fields, and our foundational work with unmanned aircraft has positioned us, as this selection demonstrates, to help write the flight safety plan for this potentially transformational aspect of the aviation industry,” says MSU President Mark E. Keenum.

“This designation further solidifies MSU and the state of Mississippi as a leader in unmanned aircraft systems, which will bring more academic, research and economic opportunities to our state.”

In collaboration with its partner universities in the FAA’s UAS Center of Excellence, Raspet already conducts the vast majority of safety-related UAS research for civil use. The Center of Excellence—known as the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE)—is a leading research coalition of 25 universities and more than 100 government and industry partners.

MSU notes that integrating UAS into the National Airspace System would enable manned and unmanned aircraft to safely operate alongside each other using many of the same air traffic management systems and procedures.

In its role as the UAS Safety Research Facility, Raspet will address several issues including: “Validating and verifying results, recommendations and conclusions of UAS safety research from around the world; developing safety-based recommendations to inform FAA decisions on UAS policy, regulation and safety guidance; investigating technologies that enable UAS to accurately and reliably detect other aircraft and adjust the course of the UAS to maintain safe distances; successful implementation of these detect-and-avoid systems would permit UAS to safely operate beyond visual line of sight—a critical threshold for UAS to reach full potential; and serving as a performance evaluation testbed for emerging UAS technologies.”

“Raspet has a rich heritage of aviation development and testing, and we’re building upon that foundation by providing the FAA with research needed to quickly, safely and efficiently integrate UAS into the National Airspace System,” says Dallas Brooks, Raspet director.

“We’re proud the FAA has selected us as their UAS Safety Research Facility, and we’re looking forward to working together to ensure the benefits of this amazing technology are realized without compromising safety.”