The Aviation Systems Division's Air Traffic Control (ATC) Simulation Laboratory contains several air traffic control and pseudo-pilot workstations to provide NASA with an integrated environment for operating and testing new air traffic management concepts that will be safer, greener, and more efficient. One half of the ATC Simulation Lab consists of eight simulation workstations that can be used to create any combination of tower, terminal, and en route controller positions. These stations provide air traffic controllers with the look and feel of an actual air traffic control facility. This half of the lab also contains several researcher workstations for managing the simulation environment and analyzing data. The other half of the lab consists of nine pseudo-pilot workstations that are used to create and “fly” the aircraft in the simulated airspace. The ATC Simulation Lab enables NASA researchers to perform complex human-in-the-loop simulations to evaluate the performance of new concepts, procedures, and technologies and determine how well such technologies perform with the addition of humans in the decision-making loop. The lab has been used for a number of critical demonstrations and simulations. Recently, it was used to conduct human-in-the-loop simulations for Terminal Area Parallel Procedures Research (TAPPR) and Terminal Area Precision Scheduling System (TAPSS) development. Experienced air traffic controllers and pilots participated in both experiments and provided valuable data that will be used to improve the automation and concepts.
Overview of Air Traffic Controller Simulation Workstations
Close-up of Air Traffic Controller Simulation Workstations