Wallops Island Virginia. The MARS UAS Facility recently opened as Virginia’s newest asset in drone technology research. The best-in-class facility features a runway/pressure rated VTOL pad for unmanned aircraft testing, certification, research & more.

The facility is officially known as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (MARS UAS) Airfield & presents a significant new capability for Wallops and the Hampton Roads region. Virginia is striving to become a national leader in autonomous technology and industry. This is at the heart of the state’s efforts to build a new Virginia economy.

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (MARS UAS) Airfield at Wallops provides government and commercial users with a runway under restricted airspace on a secure federal facility. This is a main factor in government and commercial companies/contractors undergoing the UAS development process.

The new UAS runway is an outstanding and strategic addition to the vast array of unmanned systems assets in the VA Commonwealth. The addition of these unique capabilities will provide the opportunity for even more companies and organizations to test their systems in Virginia.

Details about The Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (MARS UAS) Airfield

  • The runway is 3,000 feet long and 75 feet wide.
  • The concrete pad measures 130 feet by 120 feet and is rated to 5,000 psi for Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) operations.
  • The airfield is surrounded by 75 square nautical miles of restricted airspace that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to unlimited altitude.
  • The Virginia Department of Transportation managed the construction of the $5.8 million, state-funded project.
  • A 90-foot-by-50-foot hangar with a 70-foot-tall rollup door, lab space, communications and broadband connectivity.

The MARS UAS Airfield is the latest commitment by Virginia to become the home to an array of autonomy-related assets designed to attract business. This investment, combined with programs from NASA at Wallops and Langley, the establishment of the Autonomous Systems Center of Excellence run by the Center for Innovative Technology, and designation of Virginia as one of six FAA test sites for unmanned aircraft systems, will help fulfill the Commonwealth’s mission to be one of the best autonomous hubs of industry in the nation.

According to a study completed by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the UAS industry is predicted to have a total economic impact in Virginia of approximately $270M annually by the year 2020.


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