Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, McAuliffe boarded an Aurora Centaur, an optionally piloted aircraft that can be operated remotely from a ground control station, and flew in the plane over Wallops Island, Va.
“This new facility at Wallops provides government and commercial users with a runway under restricted airspace on a secure federal facility – discreetness that is of high interest for research and development,” Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne said.
Additional details about the runway:
- The runway is 3,000 feet long and 75 feet wide.
- Its concrete pad measures 130 feet by 120 feet and is rated to 5,000 psi for Vertical Take Off and Landing 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 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 will be under construction this summer.