PANYNJ, NASA enter space agreement to enhance flight technology


The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) has entered into a Space Act agreement with NASA to plan the next generation of flight within the airspace of the Port District.

This five-year non-reimbursable Space Act agreement will include milestones for conducting simulations, the development of new procedures, and building a concept of operations together.

Among a variety of early focal points, the partnership will address electric vertical take-off craft as a potentially sustainable transit to airports for use in short flights under 200 miles, and other uses.

The evolution of flight technology, known as Urban Air Mobility (UAM), includes the use of drones and electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles to move cargo and passengers.

NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia is researching how such vehicles could operate safely in an urban environment using lab and flight experiments.

The Port Authority said it will act as a liaison with airlines and other interested parties and help select scenarios for more NASA research.

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“The Port Authority has a long history of fostering and promoting innovation and new technology to advance our agency’s mission to keep the region moving,” said Port Authority Executive Director, Rick Cotton. 

“[This] includes our most recent initiatives on the use of unmanned aircraft systems for maintenance, testing autonomous vehicle technology to increase capacity, or working with stakeholders to redevelop or replace outmoded facilities.”

“This partnership with NASA will provide huge impetus to our effort to be at the cutting edge of new technology,” Cotton added.

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In addition to this unique NASA initiative, the Port Authority has been developing its drone programme to help maintain its bridges and inspect piers at the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Moreover, Port of New York and New Jersey finished 2022 with a record-high annual throughput handled of nearly 9.5 million TEU. 

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