Staff Directory

Scassero, Matt

Scassero, Matt

Director, UMD Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Test Site
Aerospace Engineering
44181 Airport Road, California, MD 20619

Key Responsibilities 

UMD UAS Test Site

Matt Scassero is the Director of the University of Maryland Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Site, focusing the resources and efforts of the state of Maryland on working with the FAA to integrate UAS into the national airspace, and enabling public access to these valuable assets to empower a flourishing civil and commercial UAS industry. His focus is to lead the university’s efforts to be a premier force in advancing UAS safely, efficiently and effectively, while delivering products and programs in support of workforce development and higher education goals.

Prior to this, Matt was the Chief Contracts Officer for Melwood, a non-profit dedicated to empowering people with differing disabilities to enrich their own lives through rehabilitative services and employment opportunities. Prior to joining Melwood, Matt completed a 27 year career in the US Navy, retiring at the rank of Captain as the Vice Commander for the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, the Navy’s principal research, development, test, evaluation, engineering and fleet support activity for naval aircraft and systems. He is certified by the federal government in program management, test and evaluation, software acquisition, safety program management and electronic warfare operations. Matt earned a BS in Physics (Oceanography) from the United States Naval Academy in 1982, a Master of Public Administration from the University of Baltimore in 2017, and is a Leadership Maryland 2007 graduate.

Research Interests 

UAS, autonomous technologies


M.P.A., University of Baltimore
B.S., Physics (Oceanography), United States Naval Academy


  • 2016 - first civil UAS flight across Chesapeake Bay; first cargo delivery by UAS in Maryland; fully automated flight
  • 2016 - AQWUA (A Quad With Underwater Ability) - summer intern project, fully submesible swimming/flying UAS; single propulsion and control system
  • 2018 - Cooperative UAS and USV, multi-domain autonomy project demonstrating communications and cooperative autonomy between air and surface UXS
  • 2019 - Cooperative UAS and Robots for Remote EOD (CURRE), multi-domain autonomy project with the Navy (NAWCAD), demonstrating communications and cooperative autonomy between air and ground UXS
  • 2019 - First human organ delivered to a waiting patient with a UAS in the world
    • in partnership with UMB, UMMC, Living Legacy Foundation, City of Baltimore
    • company created out of the research MIssionGO/MediGO, Scott Plank/CEO
    • Awards:
      • 2018 Baltimore "Invention of the Year"
      • 2020 American Helicopter Museum Achievement Award
      • 2020 AUVSI XCELLENCE Awards in the Humanitarian/Public Safety category
      • 2021 HAI Salute to Excellence Golden Hour Award
  • 2020 - survived the pandemic intact and works!
  • 2021 - Chesapeake UAS Route Network: multi-year, multi-phase project aiming at...
    • Airspace integration overlying the central/northern Chesapeake Bay and UAS points of interest
    • Fully integrated vice segragated airspace, manned and unmanned
    • On-demand vice waivers/exemptions
    • Flight Over People
    • Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS)
    • All sizes and shapes of UAS Group 1-5
    • All altitudes and airspace classifications
    • For use by research, public missions, military, NASA and commercial users
    • Future connections north (PA and New York), northeast (DE, Philly, NE Corridor), south (Hampton Roads) and west (Ohio, Indiana)

Wereley Steps Down as Aero Chair

Professor has led the department during an era of firsts.

UMD Team Honored for First Organ Transplant by Drone

History-making flight wins Golden Hour Award from Helicopter Association International.

The Path to Urban Air Mobility...And Beyond

View UMD UAS Test Site director Matt Scassero’s introduction speech at the Skyscraper 2020 Virtual Summit.

UAS Route Network Over Chesapeake Bay Could Transform Aviation

The University of Maryland is taking the lead on an initiative that could advance the civilian and commercial use of drones.

American Helicopter Museum Honors UMD Organ Flight

Aerospace engineering department nets a second Achievement Award.

History-Making Organ Flight Honored with Industry Award

 AUVSI’s XCELLENCE Awards Announced; UMD Wins in Humanitarian/Public Safety Category

New Milestones in Medical Deliveries by Drone

History-making UMD flight paves the way for further advancements.

Navigating the "New Normal": A Role for UAS

COVID-19 has demonstrated possible future uses in public health emergencies, writes UMD's Matt Scassero.

UAS Test Site Named as Finalist in AUVSI XCELLENCE Awards

Selection recognizes breakthrough flight delivering organ for transplant.

UAS Test Site Receives Achievement Award from the American Helicopter Museum & Education Center

Award recognizes a significant impact to furthering vertical flight.

UAV-Aided Disaster Relief: Trust, Best Practices Are Key

Drones have enormous potential in relief efforts but can also raise security concerns. Success requires a game plan, say experts.

UMD Transplant Organ Flight Named Invention of the Year

The Awards honored an history-making drone flight that helped save the life of a kidney patient.

Map to Recovery

UAS Test Site engineer Josh Gaus will use a drone to assess damage in the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian.

Special Delivery

To build an unmanned aerial vehicle worthy of a groundbreaking three-mile flight on the night of April 19, a team of UMD engineers worked over the course of two and a half years.

Five Years of Fearless Flight

The UMD UAS Test Site marks two milestones this summer: five years since its launch, and the 1,000th sortie flown.

Building Tomorrow’s Aviation Together: Airport, UAS Test Site Celebrate Ties

Unmanned systems are helping to power economic growth in Southern Maryland.

Clark School Aerospace Engineering Faculty Recognized by AIAA National Capital Section

Three faculty receive AIAA NCS awards for their outstanding contributions to research and education.

Pioneering Breakthrough: Unmanned Aircraft Delivers Organ for Successful Kidney Transplant in Maryland

The groundbreaking effort by Maryland faculty and researchers could help expand donor access to transplantation.

In the news: Transplant organ delivery by drone

Unmanned aircraft may be the ultimate method for delivering life-saving organs from donors to recipients.

A Fearless Flight

Maryland tests demonstrate how human organs can be transported safely by drones.

Glenn L. Martin Wind Tunnel Featured in the News

Reporters from national and regional television networks experienced hurricane-force winds firsthand.

Director’s Message: Robust Counter UAS is Integral to Successful Airspace Integration

For the UAS Test Site this means supporting and catalyzing progress in three key areas.

Brin Family Prize Celebrates Student Innovation

Three teams win prize money for drone projects.

UAS Test Site Expert Available to Comment on UAS Integration Pilot Program

Director Scassero can discuss UAS integration into national airspace and how the program could affect industry.

UAS Test Site Hosts International Justice System Workshop Participants

Twenty-six Chinese police college trainees saw a demonstration of the site's capabilities. 

Communicating Across Unmanned Aircraft Systems in a Disaster

UMD Tests Communications Systems in Real Time with First Responders

“Lifeline Across the Bay” Marks Milestone for the University of Maryland

First-of-its-Kind Flight Across the Chesapeake Bay

Scassero Weighs in on FAA Small UAS Ruling

UMD UAS Test Site director explains why UAS ruling could be "hugely significant."

FOX5 DC Highlights UMD UAS Test Site's Role in NASA UTM Test

Television crew films UAS Test Site team's work with NASA's UAS traffic management research platform.

UMD UAS Test Site Hosts Engineering Interns

Aerospace Engineering interns to conduct cutting-edge UAS research

UMD Celebrates Opening of UAS Test Site in Southern Maryland

Ribbon cutting ceremony brings together leaders in government, industry, and academia.

Maryland to Collaborate with VA, NJ on Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research

University System of Maryland to collaborate with MAAP on UAS research, testing and development.