AFWERX and NASA strengthen interagency partnership Published Sept. 1, 2023 By Kristen Dennis AFWERX AFWERX Prime employees pose for a picture during a tour of the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, May 2, 2023. During the visits, the Prime team received an in-depth tour of the resources and areas of expertise available at each of the research centers. (Contributed photo) Photo Details / Download Hi-Res NASA AMES RESEARCH CENTER, Calif. – After a series of capability site visits, AFWERX and NASA have strengthened their partnership to better reach advanced air mobility goals. As a research institution, NASA first partnered with AFWERX in 2020 to gain access to military resources for their projects, such as subject matter experts, restricted airspace, electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft and program management. Both agencies also collaborated with the Federal Aviation Administration to help coordinate commercial certification for their projects and inform generic regulations for the emerging technologies. As the technologies developed, Parimal Kopardekar, NASA Aeronautics Research Institution director, met with Darshan Divakaran, AFWERX Airspace Innovation and Prime Partnerships lead, to determine how to strengthen the relationship between the agencies. In addition to writing a series of agreements of cooperation, they arranged four site visits to get their agency leadership and experts together and determine how to best collaborate on efforts in the future. AFWERX Prime employees get a tour of the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, Feb. 16, 2023. During the visits, the Prime team received an in-depth tour of the resources and areas of expertise available at each of the research centers. (Contributed photo) Photo Details / Download Hi-Res “While AFWERX and NASA have had partnerships for years, these site visits were monumental in collaboration building,” Kopardekar said. “We at NASA were able to hear firsthand from the AFWERX team what gaps they’d like to fill in the near-term.” “Interagency collaboration is key,” Divakaran said. “NASA has the strength in research and we have the strength in operational capability. When you combine research and operational capability, it will be a stronger message to the nation that the U.S. is looking at scaling AAM.” AFWERX Prime employees fly a simulator during a tour of the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, May 2, 2023. During the visits, the Prime team received an in-depth tour of the resources and areas of expertise available at each of the research centers. (Contributed photo) Photo Details / Download Hi-Res “We want to do this as a nation and as a national effort,” said Lt. Col. John Tekell, AFWERX Autonomy Prime chief. “The way to do that is through partnerships like this.” This month, AFWERX Prime’s AIPP team led a technology interchange meeting to finalize the partnership, create a path forward, and to assign tasks to each party. These meetings will be a regular occurrence to ensure that AAM goals are aligned and progressing as quickly and safely as possible. AFWERX hopes that the success of the NASA partnership will show other agencies the impact that such cooperation can have on commercial viability, and will lead to more such partnerships in the future. About AFRL The Air Force Research Laboratory is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 11,500 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit www.afresearchlab.com. About AFWERX The innovation arm of the DAF and a directorate within the Air Force Research Laboratory brings cutting edge American ingenuity from small businesses and start-ups to address the most pressing challenges of the DAF. Employs approximately 325 military, civilian and contractor personnel at six hubs and sites executing an annual $1.4B budget. Since 2019, has executed 4,671 contracts worth more than $2B to strengthen the U.S. defense industrial base and drive faster technology transition to operational capability. For more information, visit: www.afwerx.com.