Elite space program will include a St. Louis drone startup

Out of 600 international businesses, St. Louis-based drone startup WingXpand was chosen to participate in the “Techstars” program in . The program focuses on aerospace technology and collaborates with agencies like NASA and the U.S. Space Force.

According to co-founder Michelle Madaras, WingXpand collaborates with fire and departments and other clients to develop drone response scenarios.

“What is in the realm of the possible,” Madaras says. “Let's really push those limits and design this thing and implement this thing in a way that will unlock new possibilities.”

Elite Space Program Will Include A St. Louis Drone Startup

WingXpand flight time

Unlike other drones, which can only fly for about 20 minutes, WingXpand's creation can fly for two and a half hours. The drone from WingXpand can also carry more weight, which enables it to use more advanced cameras.

“Not only collect video but do things down to measuring, counting for crops and the health of those crops,” Madaras says.

Beginning in April 2022, WingXpand. James Barbieri, a co-founder, claims he noticed a problem in the because transporting drones was always awkward.

The drone WingXpand developed has an extendable 7-foot wing and expands out of a backpack.

“It really is the most powerful drone that you can fit in the smallest, easiest-to-use footprint,” Barbieri says.

Barbieri claims that they are bringing their St. Louis pride with them to Los Angeles and that he wants other local business owners to be aware of the potential that St. Louis has.

Elite Space Program Will Include A St. Louis Drone Startup

“The dreams are possible so if you have an idea, if you're passionate about building new things, building great things, keep at it and you'll get there,” Barbieri says. “The main thing is persistence and tenacity.”

Through December, Madaras and Barbieri will be in Los Angeles for the program. To get the drone into consumers' hands, they will reportedly continue working on the product and ramp up production when they return to St. Louis.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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