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NASA’s Scalable Traffic Management for Emergency Response Operations (STEReO) project team trains wildland firefighters to use the Unmanned Aerial Systems Pilot kit (UASP-kit)

From March 3rd to March 19th, STEReO researchers attended the UAS Aerial Ignition Academy, where they exercised and taught various wildland fire fighting groups how to use STEReO’s Unmanned Aerial Systems Pilot kit (UASP-kit).  The UASP-kit aims to enhance the airspace awareness of UAS pilots during firefighting operations. The UASP-kit has been developed by NASA, led by NASA’s Airspace Operations Lab (AOL) over the last eighteen months in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service.  An earlier prototype was demonstrated in 2021 at the McCash Fire in California.  The UASP-kit provides enhanced airspace awareness to UAS operators by displaying Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) tracks of nearby aircraft and alerting the teams to potential encroachments on the planned operating areas of the UAS.

The UAS Aerial Ignition Academy, a three-week course held in partnership between the National Interagency UAS Training Program and the National Prescribed Fire Training Center (PFTC), combines classroom instruction followed by two weeks of field work, during which students and instructors travel throughout the US conducting prescribed burns. With this training, students also gain experience coordinating, deconflicting, and monitoring the airspace in order to safely conduct their prescribed burns using UAS.

Four different instructor-led groups traveled from the classroom training in Florida to eight different national forests across Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. While embedded within three of these groups, STEReO researchers conducted field evaluations of the UASP-kit, while gathering user feedback and data on its performance, effectiveness and usefuleness for the various wildland firefighting crews.

To learn more about the STEReO project, please visit the STEReO page.

Wildfire firefighting crew using the UASP-kit in the field during a prescribed burn
Wildfire firefighting crew using the UASP-kit in the field during a prescribed burn.

Point of Contact: Lauren Claudatos (ARC-TH), lauren.e.claudatos@nasa.gov, Human Systems Integration Division, NASA Ames Research Center
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Curator: Phil So
NASA Official: Joey Mercer
Last Updated: May 26, 2022