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Ikhana: Unmanned Aircraft System Western States Fire Missions. Monographs in Aerospace History, Number 44In 2006, NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., obtained a civil version of the General Atomics MQ-9 unmanned aircraft system and modified it for research purposes. Proposed missions included support of Earth science research, development of advanced aeronautical technology, and improving the utility of unmanned aerial systems in general. The project team named the aircraft Ikhana a Native American Choctaw word meaning intelligent, conscious, or aware in order to best represent NASA research goals. Building on experience with these and other unmanned aircraft, NASA scientists developed plans to use the Ikhana for a series of missions to map wildfires in the western United States and supply the resulting data to firefighters in near-real time. A team at NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, Calif., developed a multispectral scanner that was key to the success of what became known as the Western States Fire Missions. Carried out by team members from NASA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, National Interagency Fire Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., these flights represented an historic achievement in the field of unmanned aircraft technology.
Document ID
20110011569
Document Type
Special Publication (SP)
Authors
Merlin, Peter W. (NASA Headquarters Washington, DC United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
August 1, 2009
Subject Category
Aircraft Design, Testing and Performance
Report/Patent Number
PB2010-115148
NASA SP-2009-4544
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
Keywords
Western States fire missions
Ikhana
Pilotless aircraft