The signing of a new Space Act Agreement between the NASA Glenn Research Center and the Sinclair College National UAS Training and Certification Center will pave the way for collaborations on new applications related to advancing the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) industry, beginning with a study of harmful algae blooms on Lake Erie that have threatened water supplies over the past few years.
Through the agreement, Sinclair and the NASA Glenn Research Center will conduct a series of UAS sensor integration tests and flight operations designed to study the effects of harmful algae blooms that are threatening water resources in Ohio. Research flights planned for this summer utilizing aircraft from Sinclair’s UAS fleet integrated with NASA-designed hyperspectral sensors are expected to provide valuable data on the effects of the toxic blooms off Ohio’s Lake Erie coastline. Previous algae blooms rendered drinking water supplies unusable for multiple days for nearly 500,000 people in Northern Ohio and Michigan in 2014.
“We are extremely excited to be a part of this partnership, which is the first to bring together NASA Glenn Research Center and the National UAS Training and Certification Center,” said Deb Norris, Senior Vice President for Sinclair Workforce Development. “We are building on the strengths of two leading institutions in Ohio and leveraging capabilities that will advance UAS on a national level, starting with our collaboration to study the dangerous effects of the algae blooms on Lake Erie.”
Sinclair and NASA will collaborate through the National Aeronautics and Space Act, which authorizes NASA to engage with partners to advance mission and program objectives.
“As a leading federal research and development organization, NASA strives to create opportunities and partnerships with other innovative institutions that advance technologies,” said Tim McCartney, acting Director for Venture and Partnerships for NASA Glenn Research Center. “As a nationally recognized provider of training and applied research and development support for the UAS industry, NASA looks forward to the collaboration with Sinclair and advancing our understanding of the effects of the toxic blooms off Ohio’s Lake Erie coastline.”
Sinclair College’s National UAS Training and Certification Center sits at the forefront of UAS innovation, creating partnerships, developing leading curriculum, and investing significantly to establish a nationally prominent program dedicated to meeting the workforce needs of the growing UAS industry. Sinclair’s UAS program supports research, development, and training on vehicles and components through advanced unmanned and manned simulation, sensors, avionics, maintenance, advanced manufacturing and rapid prototyping, data analytics, and wind tunnel labs.