Take Two

NASA helps write the rules for private drone use

Ikhana vehicle

KPCC/Sanden Totten

The Ikhana vehicle parked at the Dryden Flight Research Center in Palmdale.

Ikhana drone

KPCC/Sanden Totten

The NASA Ikhana Drone. The cameras on the lower part of the machine provide pilots with a 2-D view of the world.

Piloting a drone

KPCC/Sanden Totten

Pilot Mark Pesanta uses this simulation to practice flying drones.

Laurie Grindle

KPCC/Sanden Totten

Project Manager Laurie Grindle is helping the FAA research and test systems for drones in the public airspace.


Until now, unmanned aerial vehicles — better known as drones — have been used mostly by the military.

But in a little more than a year, the Federal Aviation Administration is planning to allow private citizens and companies to send drones into the skies above the U.S. The FAA has turned to NASA to develop guidelines for flying this decidedly earth-focused craft.  

KPCC's science reporter Sanden Totten recently visited a NASA testing facility in Antelope Valley to check the process.


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