Hoeven Marks 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 Moon Landing in Senate Floor Speech

Senator Highlights North Dakota’s Continued Partnership with NASA to Advance Future of Aeronautics, Unmanned Aviation

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today spoke on the Senate floor to mark the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and highlight North Dakota’s continued work with NASA to advance the future of U.S. aeronautics, including in unmanned aerial systems (UAS). Hoeven is cosponsoring a Senate resolution that celebrates the milestone, recognizes the vision of President John F. Kennedy and honors the hard work and ingenuity of the men and women of NASA.

“The Apollo 11 moon landing was a true American triumph, achieving what seemed like an impossible goal at the time,” Hoeven said. “NASA continues this legacy of scientific research and technological advancement today, including in the field of unmanned aviation. We’ve made sure North Dakota is an important part of exploring this new frontier, partnering our state’s UAS test site with NASA to develop its unmanned traffic management system. This technology is essential to overcoming the complex technical challenge of safely integrating UAS into our national airspace. In so doing, we can realize the wide variety of benefits that unmanned aviation will bring and unlock billions of dollars in economic activity, making our nation more prosperous and secure.”

NASA’s UTM Partnership with North Dakota

Hoeven has worked since his time as governor to establish North Dakota as the nation’s proving ground for UAS. Among other things, the senator has advanced the partnership between the Northern Plains UAS Test Site and NASA to research, develop and test an unmanned traffic management (UTM) system. To this end, Hoeven:

  • Worked through his role on the Senate Appropriations Committee to provide $9 million between Fiscal Years 2017 and 2019 for NASA to develop its UTM system.
  • Secured legislation in the 2016 and 2018 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization bills that directed the agency to work with NASA in establishing its UTM Pilot Program. North Dakota was subsequently selected as one of three sites in the FAA program. 
  • Visited NASA’s Ames Research Center in a bid to partner the facility with the state’s test site and Grand Sky UAS Research and Development Park.
  • Hosted Dr. John Cavolowsky, NASA’s lead research in developing its UTM system, in North Dakota. Cavolowsky served as the keynote speaker at the 2016 Drone Focus conference in Fargo, which he attended at Hoeven’s invitation, and spoke again at the 2016 UAS Summit in Grand Forks.