The Federal Aviation Administration gave its final approval Friday for the Lone Star Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center of Excellence & Innovation at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi to begin full operations as a test site for unmanned aircraft.

The FAA designated the Center as one of six test unmanned aircraft test sites back in December, and now that the Center has met federal requirements, it will begin collecting data for the FAA concerning safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace.

Since becoming one of six FAA designated unmanned aircraft test sites, the Lone Star UAS Center at TAMUCC has been in contact with private companies and organizations that want to test and research aircraft, software and potential uses for drones.

The Center will fly its first mission as a fully operational test site next week.