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Emerging Airspace

Emerging airspace_drone

Emerging technologies are revolutionizing air travel and transport. But fast-paced change is also creating challenges for regulators. With drones and unmanned aircraft taking off in larger numbers, new approaches are needed to ensure the safety of busier skies. And as innovative electric aircraft bring the prospect of more affordable and sustainable urban air travel, safety standards and testing must stay in step with changing technology.

Staff & technical experts

Phil Kenul



Mary Mikolajewski

Staff Manager, ASTM International

[email protected]



Registered drones in the U.S.


Certified remote pilots

ASTM Xcellerate is leading strategic efforts to ensure that new aviation services are ready for take-off. ASTM committees are developing standards and training across the sector – from electronic license plates for drones to performance-based standards for electric propulsion and automated flight control systems. They are also building links between different parts of the ecosystem, bringing together regulators, R&D, and industry leaders working on unmanned aircraft systems, urban air mobility, and autonomous flight systems. By taking this collaborative approach and leveraging expertise across emerging technologies, ASTM Xcellerate is leading the way in creating the operational, infrastructure, and standards frameworks that are critical to safety and success for a new era of air travel.


ASTM F3548-21

This specification is intended to be a global specification providing components that may be used to satisfy requirements expected to be common to many UTM-related regulations. This version of the specification is focused on strategic aspects of UAS operations, including strategic conflict detection, aggregate conformance of operations to their operational intents, constraint awareness, and situational awareness in the event of nonconforming or contingent operations. The intention is that this specification will evolve to address increasingly complex strategic aspects of UAS operations and potentially certain tactical aspects of UAS operations.

ASTM F3269-21

This practice was developed with UAS in mind. It may be applicable for aspects of manned aircraft certification/approval, as well as aviation ground systems. The scope of this practice is also envisioned to allow a variety of aircraft implementations where a human may perform the role of either the Complex Function or a Recovery Function.

ASTM F3389/F3389M-2

This test method is applicable to small unmanned aircraft (sUA) that are limited in the United States in accordance with 14 CFR § 107.3 to be less than 55 lbf. The test method provides a standardized method for assessing the safety of sUA impacts with a person on the ground. Results from testing using Methods A, B, C, or D are intended to be used to support an applicant in obtaining permission from the governing Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for flight over people. Approval of reports for the conduct of tests and the decision to grant permission rests with the governing CAA based upon adherence to the methodologies outlined in this test method.

ASTM F3550-22

This standard provides guidance on how to classify safety-related events in space flight. In addition, this guide defines the terms needed for classification, such as their severity and impact.


advisory services

Bridging the gap between R&D and sustained commercial success by harnessing standards to optimum effect can be complex and challenging for those working in technologies like emerging airspace. Events move quickly, and established processes don’t always apply. For this reason, we offer advisory services to organizations to help them make rapid and effective progress. The four areas we cover are:

1. Technical and strategic consulting on new developments and trends.

2. Roadmapping (often aligning technology and standards roadmaps).

3. Product development workshops and liaison.

4. Bespoke analysis and technical reports – often impacting investment or M&A decisions.

education and training

Education and training is a further key strand of our emerging airspace work. Leveraging expertise from industry, academia, and government, the we are creating and delivering a growing range of courses and events to support the emerging airspace community.