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Texas Drone Research Center Conducting Tests

By Michael Graczyk
|  Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014  |  Updated 1:24 PM CDT
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Texas Drone Research Center Conducting Tests

NBC News

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Researchers from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi have sent a drone more than a half mile into the air as part of test flights for the federal government.

An unmanned aerial vehicle known as an RS-16 took off Wednesday from a gas-propelled catapult at the Kenedy Foundation Ranch in South Texas. The drone headed up to nearly 3,000 feet over the Gulf Coast.

About 90 minutes later the drone safely returned, skidding to a stop on its belly on a sandy dry lake bed about 8 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico and some 60 miles south of Corpus Christi.

Texas is among six states designated by the Federal Aviation Administration to develop test sites for drones.

University official David Bridges says the aircraft and its technology cost about $200,000.

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