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NMSU’s Physical Science Lab awarded $400,000 to support disaster preparedness research

NMSU’s Physical Science Lab awarded $400,000 to support disaster preparedness research

DATE: Sept. 13, 2022
WRITER: Tiffany Acosta, 575-646-3929,
CONTACT: Marcella Shelby, 575-646-9201,

New Mexico State University’s Physical Science Laboratory was awarded a $400,000 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to support unmanned aircraft systems research in disaster preparedness and emergency response. 
NMSU was one of five universities to receive funding through the third round of Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence grants. The University of Vermont,  University of Alabama in Huntsville, North Carolina State University and Kansas State University also received awards. 
“Safety, security and support. That is what this research is about; safe and secure drone operations supporting and enhancing various types of disaster response,” said Henry M. Cathey, director of PSL Aerospace Division and NMSU UAS Test Flight Site. “The goal is to integrate drones and improve the ability of these first responders to meet these challenges with this new technology.”
The research will study the use of UAS in providing effective and resourceful responses to natural and human-caused disasters. The project will focus on coordination procedures among UAS operators from federal, state and local agencies. 
As a core partner for the ASSURE Center of Excellence since 2015, NMSU has been helping lead a partnership of academic and industry members that ushered in a new era of commercial unmanned aircraft research, development and integration into the nation’s airspace. Other research areas include detect and avoid technology; beyond visual line of sight operations, UAS operations in and around airports; human factors; visual observer testing; counter UAS; and STEM education using UAS as the central learning platform.
“The great work done by PSL’s UAS team, as well as the other partner universities in the first two rounds is already making a positive impact in New Mexico and directly supports efforts first responders in our state and across the country,” PSL Director Eric Sanchez said. “Together, the partner universities have provided practical guides, research, workshops and disaster overviews and Concepts of Operations (CONOPS) of UAS use with tornados, volcano, technological, hurricanes, pandemic, avalanche/landslides, earthquake, wildland fires, flooding and more.”



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