As ESRA has mentioned previously, there are some pretty significant changes in the policy for allowing drones/UAS/UAV to operate at the Vertical Launch Area of Spaceport America.  These changes were in response to rule changes made by the Federal Aviation Administration and the state of New Mexico.


The following UAS rules apply to all UAS including deployed, rocket-launched UAS that have their own power source:

  1. UAS Pilots are required to have an active FAA Part 107 certificate. FAA Part 107 certificates will be verified at convention center check-in.
  2. Any UAS flight must be covered by at least $1 million general liability insurance (personal injury, death and property damage). This policy must be specific to the drone flight and not included in home owners or general insurance policies. Proof of this insurance must be presented to ESRA during registration on Monday, June 19th.
  3. Any UAS deployed from a rocket will have a max altitude CONOPS target of 10,000 ft. A margin of 3,000 ft is included so an ABSOLUTE maximum altitude of 13,000 ft AGL.
  4. All UAS flights must coordinate with Drone Operations (Near LCO) prior to launching.  
  5. Any UAS with CONOPS exceeding 400 ft will be required to coordinate RF frequencies in advance


Any UAS violating operations rules will block our ability to continue launching rockets and will be subject to possible disqualification of the team and removal from the site.  This would include teams who launch a micro drone from the student canopy area to get some video. Don't be the team that let a small indiscretion ruin the entire week for the team.