With the ink drying on a new $33 million contract, Texas is about to get a brand new, dedicated droneport. Yes, like a spaceship houses spaceships, a droneport—a term we may or may not have made up just now—gives unmanned aerial vehicles a place to call home.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to borrow any airspace for your next airborne GoPro adventure. With the $33 million, the Army will build out a 150-acre drone hub at Fort Bliss to house two of the Army’s favorite, autonomously flying death-bringing playthings, the Gray Eagle and Shadow. The Gray Eagle is about 30-feet long and used for all sorts of missions, including surveillance and strikes, while the smaller Shadow is an ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance).
Fort Bliss is located on the border of Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico, at the very bottom of the largest no-fly zone in the U.S.—site of lots of military airborne experimentation, NASA’s White Sands Test Facility, and—not too far off—Spaceport America, the world’s first spaceport built from the ground up for that purpose.
Given the ongoing debate around drone airspace regulation, the restricted, military airspace near Fort Bliss will provide the ideal provate playground for the high tech flying implements of surveillance and death-from-the-skies.
Photo via Abode of Chaos/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)