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Vice President Mike Pence Visits NASA Ames and Vertical Motion Simulator (VMS)
November 21, 2019

Vice President Mike Pence and NASA Ames staff in the VMS control room
Vice President Mike Pence in the VMS Control Room. (From left to right: Colonel Karol “Bo” Bobko, SimLabs Branch Chief Steve Beard, Ames Aeronautics Director Huy Tran, Vice President Mike Pence, Ames Center Director Eugene Tu, Senior Simulation Engineer Steve Norris. Credits: NASA/Dominic Hart)

Vice President Mike Pence visited NASA Ames Research Center on November 14, 2019. This visit included a tour of the Vertical Motion Simulator (VMS), the world’s largest motion flight simulator. At the VMS, Vice President Pence and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine flew the Lunar Lander simulation and touched down on the simulated Moon’s surface. The VMS can be customized to simulate different aerospace vehicles, and can be used to develop, test, and certify future lunar lander systems in addition to training future Artemis astronauts for the critical landing task.

Vice President Pence and NASA Administrator Bridenstine fly the lunar lander simulation in the Vertical Motion Simulator.
Vice President Mike Pence (left) and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine (right) in the Vertical Motion Simulator. (Credits: Photo by official White House photographer Myles Cullen.)

The SimLabs branch also hosted the Vice President’s speech in the high bay of the VMS building, where he spoke about Ames Research Center's role in the Artemis program, including the VMS as part of that future. The speech can be found on NASA Video's Youtube Channel.

Vice President Pence stands at a podium. A VMS cab can be seen in the background.
Vice President Mike Pence addressing employees at the VMS High Bay (Credits: NASA/Dominic Hart)

(POC: Steve Beard)

TestBed Demonstration to Advanced Information Systems Technology Program at Goddard Space Flight Center
November 21, 2019

The TestBed Sub-Project Manager and Technical Lead gave a presentation of the TestBed Sub-Project to Dr. Jacqueline Lemoigne-Stewart, head of the New Observing Systems (NOS) area within the Advanced Information Systems Technology Program at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and her team. NOS is concerned with setting up multiple sensor platforms (space-based, airborne, ground-based) and facilitating their coordination for making Earth observations. Their interest in the TestBed platform was to determine if it may be helpful to test their multi-platform observing systems. (POC: Alan Lee and Kee Palopo)

Completion of Tailored Arrival Manager (TAM) 2 Testing with FAA Tech Center
November 13, 2019

Screenshot of the TAM Traffic Viewer
TAM Traffic Viewer with chosen time delay in grey box and corresponding flight path in yellow

On October 31, 2019, the eco-Demonstrator (ecoD) and Air Traffic Management Exploration (ATM-X) TestBed team successfully completed the second of the ten scheduled “lab shots” in preparation for the ecoD Flight Demonstration scheduled for July 2020. The objective of this test was to generate trajectory-based arrival solutions from NASA’s Tailored Arrival Manager (TAM) and send them electronically to the Data Communication Avionics Lab (DCAL) at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) William J. Hughes Technical Center. Data obtained from the FAA’s B737 Max simulator cab during previous TAM-1 testing were played back in the TestBed software platform to create arrival scenarios to Moses Lake, Washington, which is the expected destination for ecoD flights in 2020. For each of five scenarios, conflict-free path solutions were generated by TAM, using NASA’s Autoresolver algorithm, in response to manually set delay values representing time-based metering operations. Once received by the FAA, each TAM solution was converted into a Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) message and loaded into a Flight Management System (FMS) test bench in the DCAL.

Loading TAM solutions into the FMS revealed issues with merging path-stretch route modifications with the aircraft’s nominal route. These issues were debugged and resolved during testing, resulting in successful FMS loads prior to test completion. Test findings were communicated with FAA and Boeing partners and used to establish modified TAM interface requirements for future ecoD testing and flight demonstration.

(POC: Arwa Aweiss)

Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Research Workshop
November 13, 2019

The Air Traffic Management Exploration (ATM-X) UAM sub-project held a UAM research workshop at NASA Langley Research Center, October 29-31, 2019. The UAM sub-project seeks to enable routine airspace access for UAM operations. During the workshop, the Ames and Langley Research Centers team worked towards developing common airspace management concepts, simulation scenarios, and performance metrics for the FY20 focus area: the information exchange requirements and protocols needed for UAM airspace management services to interoperate and support scalable operations. The team will explore both an Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management (UTM)-like federated concept, and a more centralized concept, and characterize the differences between those two paradigms. The effort will produce reference research technologies and data to guide the UAM community in the design, development, and integration of the UAM airspace system, including in the UAM Grand Challenge (GC). A follow-up workshop is being planned for Spring 2020. (POC: Karl Bilimoria, Lindsay Stevens, David Thipphavong)

NASA ATD-2 FY20 Vision Workshop
November 13, 2019

The ATD-2 assembled for a group photo at NASA Ames Research Center.
ATD-2 Team Photo (Credit: NASA Ames / Dominic Hart)

The NASA Airspace Technology Demonstration 2 (ATD-2) Team held an FY20 Vision Workshop, October 29-30, 2019 at NASA Ames Research Center. The objectives of the workshop were to discuss current plans and potential future work for FY20, and a general timeline of necessary activities to be completed by the end of the project was shared. Over 60 NASA ATD-2 team members participated in the workshop, which included new additions to the team. Agenda items included a re-cap of last year’s achievements, recognition of team members, a transition plan for the ATD-2 system at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport in North Carolina with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and airline operators, Fuser technology updates, and data-driven capabilities, use cases, and tools. Insights on plans after ATD-2 were also shared by the management team. Further discussions with Tech Leads to add details to the plans are scheduled for December 4-6, 2019. (POC: Al Capps)

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Getting to the moon takes practice — on a giant machine in Mountain View
June 4, 2019
Peter Fimrite from the San Francisco Chronicle reports on NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine's visit to the Vertical Motion Simulator and its role in the next human trip to the moon.
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May 20, 2019
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Interesting article on NASA Aeronautics from CNET.
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Debra Werner of Aerospace America interviews Arwa Aweiss, Flight Test Director for NASA's UTM Project.
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