NASA to Highlight Opportunities in North Dakota at UAS Summit & Expo

NASA, UAS industry partners will explain collaboration on UTM development and future beyond visual line of sight flights.John Cavolowsky

GRAND FORKS, ND – (August 16, 2016) – North Dakota’s role in NASA research aimed at the safe integration of small and large unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the national airspace will be discussed during the 10th Annual UAS Summit & Expo August 22-24 at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, N.D.

On Tuesday, attendees will hear from John Cavolowsky, director of NASA’s Airspace Operations and Safety Program, and a panel of experts who have partnered with NASA’s UAS Traffic Management (UTM) program. Cavolowsky will speak from 8:50-9:20 a.m. in Ballroom 5 on NASA’s UAS goals. The panel discussion will include large and small business leaders who have participated in NASA’s UTM program. The panel will be led by Shawn Bullard, president of the Duetto Group LLC in Washington, D.C. He serves as the federal advisor to the Northern Plains UAS Test Site in North Dakota, one of six Federal Aviation Administration-approved sites in the nation.

Panelists include Jaclyn Louis, director of government relations and senior counsel for Intel Corp., San Francisco; Craig Marcinkowski, director of strategy and business development for Gryphon Sensors, Syracuse, N.Y.; Chris Theisen, director of research, development, test and evaluation with the Northern Plains UAS Test Site; Joseph Burns, CEO of Sensurion Aerospace, Minneapolis, Minn.; and Terri Zimmerman, CEO of Packet Digital and Botlink, Fargo, N.D.
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Senator Working with NASA, FAA to Advance UAS in North Dakota

Preparing for takeoff, a Predator goes through preflight checks at the new General Atomics UAS Flight Training Academy at the Grand Sky UAS Business and Aviation Park. Photo: UAS Magazine
Preparing for takeoff, a Predator goes through preflight checks at the new General Atomics UAS Flight Training Academy at the Grand Sky UAS Business and Aviation Park. Photo: UAS Magazine

U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., last week revealed that he is working with NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to create additional opportunities for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in North Dakota, home to one of six FAA-approved UAS test sites.

Hoeven spoke in Grand Forks, North Dakota, at two events. On July 28, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. made its first flight with a Predator launched from the company’s new UAS Flight Training Academy at the Grand Sky UAS Business and Aviation Park. On July 26, the University of North Dakota dedicated a new aerospace education facility to serve its UAS Center of Excellence.

Hoeven said he’s working with the FAA and has spoken to agency administrator Michel Huerta about obtaining a statewide certificate of authorization (COA) to allow beyond visual-line-of-sight flying for UAS above 10,000 feet through the Northern Plains UAS Test Site. The approval could come before the end of the year, according to Hoeven. Read more

Engineering Students Score at NASA Robotics Competition

Back Row: Naima Kaabouch, Jerod Nelson, Daniel Smith, Nicholas Allen, Erik Peterman, Ryan Ahrens and Jack Heichel. Front Row: Bryan Koenig, David Laurion and Bradley Messer. Not pictured: Charles Foxworthy and Travis Winter.
Back Row: Naima Kaabouch, Jerod Nelson, Daniel Smith, Nicholas Allen, Erik Peterman, Ryan Ahrens and Jack Heichel. Front Row: Bryan Koenig, David Laurion and Bradley Messer. Not pictured: Charles Foxworthy and Travis Winter.

The University competed with more than 50 universities from around the United States in a NASA robotics competition May 16-21, 2016 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. UND took first in outreach and second in presentation and demonstration, and placed fifth overall. Read more

All-female Crew Spending 10 days in Lunar-Mars ‘habitat’ on Campus

An all-female international team of three graduate students boarded the University of North Dakota’s Inflatable Lunar-Mars Habitat (ILMH) earlier this week for a sealed, 10-day mission. The mission controller also is female. They’ll exit the ILMH at 11:00 a.m. Friday, May 6.

Carolyn Newton, Brittany Zimmerman and Poonam Josan.

Carolyn Newton, Brittany Zimmerman and Poonam Josan.

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McNair Forum is April 21, 2016

UND’s 22nd Annual McNair Forum, in which undergraduate research is presented by McNair Program Scholars, will be held Thursday, April 21, in the Memorial Union River Valley Room.

The Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program, named after NASA astronaut Ronald McNair who died in the 1986 explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, is funded by the United States Department of Education and is operated under the University’s Division of Student Affairs. Read more

Science Café: UND Rocketry Club March 22, 2016

In a world of ever expanding technology and science issues citizens need have an opportunity to learn about STEM in their community. The Dakota Science Center and the Grand Forks Public Library host Science Cafés to share STEM with the public.

Grand Forks Public Library 2110 Library Circle

March 22, 2016 7:00 p.m. UND Rocketry Club

The UND Rocketry Club competes on a national level. Come and see their rocket design and learn about rockets. This year the team will fly a NASA Science Mission Directorate payload. The primary requirement for the payload is to record, log, and transmit reading from pressure, temperature, relative humidity, solar irradiance, and UV radiation sensors. The team will also design and fly a small secondary payload to verify an innovative concept. Their aim is to develop a payload that is capable of visually locating specific targets within its field of view and relaying back the distance and direction the target is from the launch site. This could be a useful safety tool in a scenario where a lost astronaut could obtain a birds-eye view of the landscape and be able to locate rovers, habitats, or other astronauts. Visual observation on Earth often relies on using fixed or rotary winged aircraft to maneuver through the atmosphere. However, on the lunar or Martian surface, where there is little or no atmosphere to generate lift, the application of rocket technology could be valuable.

~ Laura Munski, Executive Director, Dakota Science Center

Space Studies Colloquium February 1, 2016

The Spring 2016 Space Studies Colloquium Series focuses on human space exploration research for long-duration missions and will feature several leading experts in this field.  The second presentation in this series will feature Ronita L. Cromwell, A USRA Senior Scientist and Deputy Associate Manager for International Science for the NASA Human Research Program. She will present  “Ground-Based Analogs to Simulate Effects of the Spaceflight Environment on Humans” at 3:00 p.m. Monday, February 1, in 111 Ryan Hall. Read more

NASA Scientist Named Director of National Suborbital Education and Research Center on Campus

The University recently appointed Melissa Yang as program director of the National Suborbital Education and Research Center (NSERC). NSERC is hosted at UND Aerospace in the Department of Earth System Science & Policy, part of the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.

Melissa Yang

Melissa Yang

As program director, Yang is responsible for science operations support for various NASA airborne research platforms, including the DC-8, P-3 and C-130. She also serves as an interface to the scientific community. Read more

Proposals Due January 4, 2016 for NASA EPSCoR Projects

The North Dakota NASA Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) is soliciting research proposals from faculty at North Dakota University System institutions and North Dakota Tribal Colleges to conduct NASA relevant research in one or more RFAs that are designed to promote and expand particular NASA research sub disciplines in North Dakota. One proposal can be submitted from North Dakota for the NASA EPSCoR Cooperative Agreement Notice (CAN) this year.

Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a preliminary proposal (3 pages) to Caitlin Nolby via e-mail at before close of business Jan. 4, outlining the central idea, rough budget, and why NASA should be interested in the proposal. One proposal will be selected for full submission. Once the preliminary proposal is selected by ND NASA EPSCoR, the PI will be asked to submit a NOI before Jan. 25, 2016 and a full proposal by March 21, 2016. Read more

UND, NDSU Land Funding for West Nile Research

North Dakota’s NASA EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) program recently awarded nearly $73,000 to the University of North Dakota and North Dakota State for a new project to map and forecast the occurrences of West Nile Virus in North Dakota.

UND was awarded almost $38,000 for the project, while NDSU’s portion will be nearly $35,000.  An additional $4,000 was awarded to UND for travel related to the project. This is a joint effort between the state’s two research universities.

The principle investigators for the project are Assistant Professor Prakash Ranganathan and Associate Professor Naima Kaabouch, from UND’s Electrical Engineering Department, and Professor Mark Boetel, with NDSU’s Entomology Department. Read more

Engineering Robotics Team Scored Top Marks in NASA Robotic Mining Competition

Once again a team of UND student engineers scored top marks in the 2015 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Robotic Mining Competition.2015team

In May, a UND engineering team competed against 50 other teams from universities across the nation and took fourth place in the 2015 Mining Competition and first place in the outreach activity component, which took at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. This is the third year the UND team scored top awards in this NASA competition. Read more