New UND Aerospace Facility Latest Milestone For UAS In Grand Forks
UND’s Aerospace school is ready to take off into a brand new facility.
The 66,000 square foot building will house more than just classrooms.
Robin Hall is the newest building on the UND Campus.
With its tower stretching up towards the sky, officials say it’s a symbol of the future of aviation and the role UND will play in that future.
“This is an important milestone for all the things we’re doing in unmanned aviation,” says U.S. Senator John Hoeven.
“It’s a fantastic new building. I think it’ll be great for the students,” adds Mark Henry, a mission commander for Northern Plains UAS Test Site.
Unmanned aviation has been a major focus for UND since the UAS center started in 2005.
Robin Hall is just the latest step.
“Been a dream of the UND Aerospace group for many years,” explains Paul Lindseth, the dean of the Odegard School of Aerospace.
The building came together thanks to more than $20 million in private funding.
“We have a partnership like nowhere else,” adds Hoeven.
Lindseth says it, “sends the message that we are committed to the future of unmanned aircraft systems.”
Senator Hoeven is working to get beyond line of sight certification for North Dakota.
That could lure NASA to town, with the goal of creating an unmanned air traffic management system.
Hoeven explains, “That means we can fly unmanned aircraft without a chase plane beyond line of sight. Now that gives companies and NASA a real reason to come here because they can now do testing here that they can’t do in other places.”
He says Grand Forks has unparalleled resources for UAS flights, from UND, to Grand Sky Technology Park, to the Grand Forks Air Force Base.
But the first goal here is giving students a place to learn.
Classes start on August 22nd.
It’s a big week for unmanned aviation in Grand Forks.
The company General Atomics will have its first UAS test flight on Thursday at the Grand Sky Technology Park.