Since January 2018, Michael McGee, Ph.D., a senior research associate with The University of Texas at El Paso’s NASA MIRO Center for Space Exploration and Technology Research (cSETR), has led cSETR’s work in unmanned aerial systems (UAS).
In less than a year, he has made UTEP the focal point of efforts to significantly improve public safety and bolster border security through the utilization of drone technology. His ability to bridge communication between various governmental agencies has not only elevated the heights of UTEP’s drone program, it also has increased the campus’ footprint.
Test Site Bravo in Tornillo on the eastern fringe of El Paso County will serve as the flight test range for cSETR’s burgeoning UAS program. The site will see a runway and other infrastructure development within two years. The center already has grown its UAS fleet to 11 aircraft and expanded laboratory facilities to support research and development. UTEP’s growth in east El Paso County represents the realization of efforts to turn the region into a vital component of meeting the workforce needs of a rapidly-growing segment of the aerospace industry. - Pablo Villa