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The Spaceship Company Learns Valuable Lessons Using NASA 747-400 Simulator
October 14, 2020

The Spaceship Company (TSC) pilots flew the 747-400 simulator at NASA Ames Research Center on October 8-9, 2020, to further develop design loads on the mounting structure for launching vehicles from the top of a 747 aircraft. With nearly 100 runs completed, the TSC pilots flew various maneuvers and emergency events, and recorded the aircraft response (such as rates, accelerations, aero parameters) to inform the load cases and establish a baseline. TSC plans to return in a few weeks to repeat the tests with an enhanced model. Additional Covid-19 safety precautions were put in place during this simulation to ensure the health and safety of the TSC personnel and the NASA simulation operators.


POC: Fay Chinn



ATM-X Collaborative Traffic Management (CTM) Sub-Project Meeting with Swift Engineering
October 14, 2020

The Air Traffic Management Exploration (ATM-X) Collaborative Traffic Management (CTM) sub-project, Upper-E Traffic Management (ETM) team met with a potential ETM participant, Swift Engineering, on October 6, 2020. During this meeting, Swift Engineering provided information regarding their support of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and the High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) Unmanned Aircraft they are developing. The teams discussed the HALE operation’s relevance to the ETM work. Further discussions are planned.


POC: Jaewoo Jung



Air Traffic Management TestBed Connectivity with ICAROUS
September 30, 2020

Screenshot of the TestBed tool during the ICAROUS connectivity test.

NASA is developing the Air Traffic Management TestBed, an inter-connected air traffic simulation capability, to help accelerate the introduction of advanced technologies into the National Airspace System (NAS). TestBed provides easy-to-use and easy-to-connect support for various applications as plugins.

Ames and Langley Research Center teams successfully completed a connectivity test of a safety-centric system for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operations, as a plugin to TestBed, on September 28, 2020. This safety-centric system, ICAROUS (Independent and Configurable Architecture for Reliable Operations of Unmanned Systems), is an onboard software system that enables the modular integration of mission-specific logic, sensor technologies, and a collection of core applications. The core applications implement capabilities such as detect and avoid, keep-in and keep-out geofencing, path planning, return to mission, and merging and spacing. ICAROUS is publicly available under NASA's Open Source Agreement at https://github.com/nasa/icarous.

During the connectivity test, ICAROUS, an air-taxi-vehicle simulator called “Flyer,” and a traffic simulator and mission planner called TIGAR, were connected to TestBed, which enabled the sharing of aircraft data. As shown in the figure above, the Flyer travels from Foster City, CA towards South San Francisco, and an ICAROUS detect-and-avoid algorithm generates a path deviation for the Flyer to avoid another flying aircraft (not shown). The successful connectivity demonstrated in this test would enable the ICAROUS team to participate in future Urban Air Mobility experiments that leverage TestBed.


POC: Kee Palopo



Regional Modeling and Simulation Partners Meeting
September 30, 2020

NASA’s Regional Modeling and Simulation work is underway to aid local communities in decision-making for the placement of Urban Air Mobility (UAM)/Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) vehicle take-off and landing areas, called Vertiports. The modeling tool aids in the selection of multiple Vertiport locations in a given region, and the simulation system supports the assessment of UAM vehicle flight parameters between those locations. NASA is currently working with several active partners, including the Los Angeles (LA) Department of Transportation (DOT) and City of LA Planning Department, and the Ohio DOT and City of Columbus Planning Department. On September 25, 2020, a virtual introductory meeting was held with representatives from these locations. The focus of the meeting was on planning, infrastructure, modeling, and regulatory issues, and participants discussed their vertiport siting challenges, their respective approaches to those challenges, and the utility of the NASA prototype tool in that process. Future meetings are planned, including a NASA-hosted User Work Group meeting.


POC: Kapil Sheth



Airspace Technology Demonstration 2 (ATD-2) Machine Learning Services Featured at NASA Data Science Month
September 23, 2020

NASA Data Science Month is structured as a multi-day, virtual mini-conference hosted by the NASA Headquarters Information Technology and Communications Division (ITCD) and Johnson Space Center Information Resources Directorate (IRD). The primary goal is to share and inform the Agency’s data community of current and future activities in the field of data science. September 2020 topics included COVID-19, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). Dr. Jeremy Coupe presented at the September 17 meeting on “ATD-2 Real-time Machine Learning Services Powered by SWIM.” The modern day National Airspace System (NAS) is powered by System Wide Information Management (SWIM), a digital data-sharing infrastructure that provides a high fidelity view of the lifecycle of a flight. The real-time data feeds within SWIM can be leveraged to help drive efficiencies in the NAS. In his talk, Dr. Coupe showed examples of different ML services being developed by ATD-2 to model airport surface operations. The ML services will form the building blocks of a predictive engine that alerts flight operators to delay savings opportunities within the terminal airspace.


POC: Jeremy Coupe



ATD-2 Experience Shared on Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) Technical Symposium S.M.A.R.T Airport Panel
September 23, 2020

The Air Traffic Controllers Association (ATCA) Technical Symposium hosted a panel session entitled “Self-Monitoring and Reporting Technology (SMART): Intelligent Airports and the Technology That Enables Them,” on September 15, 2020. Shawn Engelland, project manager for the Airspace Technology Demonstration 2 (ATD-2) project, represented NASA on this panel which also included representatives from industry, airport operators, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The panel developed the following working definition: “A SMART airport integrates data processing/machine learning, communication, and sensor/control technologies into its infrastructure to create a more consumer-friendly and digitally connected airport experience to improve airport operations, safety, efficiency, and predictability.” During the session, the panel shared their experiences developing, implementing, and operating SMART airport technologies. NASA shared experiences from the ATD-2 Field Demonstration at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) in North Carolina.

ATD-2’s goal is to improve the predictability and efficiency of airport operations through the development and demonstration of an Integrated Arrival/Departure/Surface (IADS) system. The ATD-2 IADS system being demonstrated at CLT is a precursor to the FAA’s implementation of the Terminal Flight Data Manager (TFDM) system. A key TFDM capability being demonstrated by ATD-2 is surface departure metering which shifts physical departure queues and wait times on the taxiways and ramp areas into virtual departure queues back to the gate, where delays can be absorbed with the engines off and the doors open.

Information sharing and the creation of new “digital assets” (i.e., information elements) such as Earliest Off Block Time (EOBT) are used by flight operators with the ATD-2/TFDM scheduling system, to enable accurate departure demand predictions. Coupling these demand predictions with airport surface capacity predictions (based on runway utilization and arrival traffic prediction) enables the ATD-2/TFDM system to balance demand and capacity to improve efficiency and predictability. The resulting benefits include reductions in fuel use and emissions and more flexibility for flight operators and passengers.

TFDM requires an unprecedented level of collaboration between flight and airport operators; while the FAA is developing tools for air traffic control (ATC) users, industry operators must provide their own tools. NASA’s ATD-2 demonstration at CLT includes both pieces of the puzzle, and NASA’s knowledge sharing prepares both the FAA and Industry for the implementation of TFDM.


POC: Shawn Engelland



ATD-2 Stormy 2021 Briefing to the Surface CDM Team (SCT) & Flow Evaluation Team (FET)
September 23, 2020

Representatives from the NASA Airspace Technology Demonstration 2 (ATD-2) team briefed plans for Trajectory Options Set (TOS) Stormy 2021 testing during a joint meeting of the SCT and FET teams on September 14, 2020. The briefing expanded upon the high-level overview of Stormy 2021 provided to the SCT and FET groups in July 2020. The September presentation provided more details and outlined operational plans as well as enhancements that the ATD-2 team will be making to the system to increase trajectory option set (TOS) opportunities in the coming months. In addition, the briefing described the platforms designed to accomplish training for field users, including tutorial videos, additional use case scenarios that could generate more TOS opportunities, and various methods to accurately calculate reroute benefit savings. The briefing was well received, and numerous questions were answered regarding the implementation plan.


POC:Greg Juro



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IN THE MEDIA
NASA Partners with Boeing on Test Flights to Advance Aviation
August 28, 2020
NASA's partnership with Boeing on the EcoDemonstrator Program is featured on NASA.gov.
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Meet NASA’s air taxi simulator
November 26, 2019
The Vertical Motion Simulator is featured on the Aerospace America website about how Silicon Valley tests aim to assess passenger motion sickness.
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NASA Showcases Benefits of Air Traffic Management Tools
October 23, 2019
ATD-2 Project work is featured on NASA.gov
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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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Big City Life Awaits Drones in Final Year of NASA Research
May 20, 2019
From NASA Public Affairs.
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NASA Invites Media to Watch Drone Traffic Management Testing
May 16, 2019
NASA Press Release.
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How NASA makes your airplane flights better than ever
September 28, 2018
Interesting article on NASA Aeronautics from CNET.
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Transportation engineer involved in drone traffic management
June 1, 2018
Debra Werner of Aerospace America interviews Arwa Aweiss, Flight Test Director for NASA's UTM Project.
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