Photos of the Day: Connecting with Drones
NASA's communications experts have begun flight testing a prototype radio as part of the agency's contributions toward fully integrating civil and commercial Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System (NAS). Read the full story here. 
Built under a cooperative agreement between NASA and Rockwell Collins in Iowa, the current prototype radio is a platform to test operations at certain frequencies with specific radio waveforms that are unique to its particular task – in this case command and control of a remotely piloted vehicle.
NASA's S-3 Viking research aircraft at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. Image credit: NASA/Michelle M. Murphy
|NASA research pilot Al Micklewright concentrates on the flight test plan with a beautiful view in the background from the S-3 Viking cockpit. Image credit: NASA/Jim Demers|
|NASA researcher Jim Griner coordinates the testing from his seat behind the cockpit of the S-3 Viking. Image credit: NASA/Steve Walker|
|The prototype radio, built under a cooperative agreement between NASA and Rockwell Collins, sits in its test rack in the rear section of the S-3 Viking. Image credit: NASA/Jim Griner|
This particular radio is one of the first steps to provide the critical communications link for UAS pilots on the ground to safely and securely operate their remotely piloted vehicles in flight even though they are many miles – if not continents or oceans – apart.
A NASA engineer standing on the trailer assists with raising the communications tower that transmits to the NASA research aircraft. Image credit: NASA/Michelle M. Murphy