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11790466_sNew potential market for Israeli made unmanned air systems (UAS) ? It is so logical that contracts are just a matter of time.

When ar are is contaminated with dangerous chemicals, when an area is shut down to manned aircraft because of a volcanic eruption the small UAS can do the job.

According to Unmanned Systems technologies NASA Earth science researchers last month traveled to Turrialba Volcano, near San Jose, Costa Rica, to fly an Aerovironment Dragon Eye UAS— a small electric aircraft equipped with cameras and sensors — into the volcano’s sulfur dioxide plume and over its summit crater, to study Turrialba’s chemical environment. The project is designed to improve the remote-sensing capability of satellites and computer models of volcanic activity.

This series of tests focused on improving the remote sensing made by satellites but the implications are clear.

The study launched 10 flights between March 11-14, 2013, into the volcanic plume and along the rim of the Turrialba summit crater approx. 10,500 feet above sea level

To penetrate such dangerous airspace, UAS especially those with electric engines that ingest little contaminated air, are an emerging and effective way to gather crucial data about ash and gas concentrations and their lateral and vertical distribution.

To accomplish project objectives, research scientists at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., used three Aerovironment RQ-14 Dragon Eye UAS which were acquired from the United States Marine Corps (USMC) via the General Services Administration’s San Francisco office. These small electric fixed wing unmanned aircraft weigh 5.9 pounds, have a 3.75-foot wingspan and twin electric engines, and can carry a one-pound instrument payload for up to an hour within a volcanic plume.

“This project is great example of how unmanned aircraft can be used for beneficial civilian purposes – in this case for better understanding Earth system processes and the impact of volcanism on our atmosphere,” said Matthew Fladeland, airborne science manager at Ames. “By taking these retired military tools, we can very efficiently and effectively collect measurements that improve NASA satellite data and aviation safety.”

Ames team members integrated payload instruments onto the UAV, which included the standard USMC visible and infrared video cameras, sulfur dioxide and particle sensors, and automatic atmospheric sampling bottles keyed to measure sulfur dioxide concentration. Researchers also operated the UAV, directing it into a volcanic plume to characterize its chemical and physical environment. This capability was especially important during simultaneous flights by NASA’s Terra spacecraft with the ASTER imaging radiometer. Next year, as part of this project, Ames also will operate the larger SIERRA unmanned aircraft (about 400 pounds takeoff weight, 100-pound payload), which will carry a more sophisticated mass spectrometer to measure additional gases in the Turrialba volcano plume.

Israeli companies are manufacturing a variety of electric powered nini and micro UAS and they are looking at the new potential market