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Ames' Science Teams Win Space Act Awards

The Space Act award program, which is coordinated through the Ames Commercial Technology Office (Code DK), is designed to provide official recognition of, and grant equitable monetary awards for, those inventions and scientific and technical contributions that have helped to achieve NASA's aeronautical, commercialization and space goals. It is also intended to stimulate and encourage the creation and reporting of similar contributions in the future. To accomplish these objectives, the Inventions and Contributions Board funded by NASA Headquarters is authorized to recommend the granting of monetary awards.

NASA Ames has two teams that have recently received such Space Act Award recognition. Over $20,000 was awarded to the teams.

The first space act award was for the ‘Comprehensive Toolset for Model-Based Health Monitoring and Diagnostics,’ which is a software toolset for designing and developing diagnostic applications such as those required in integrated vehicle health management systems. Three software tools that support systems engineering, systems design and testability, automated diagnostics and troubleshooting, and system autonomy have been developed during a seven-year collaboration between researchers at NASA Ames and Qualtech Systems, Inc. The tools are: 1) TEAMSTM 5.0, the testability engineering and maintenance system, a tool used in static design/analysis phases of complex systems; 2) TEAMS-RTTM, a real-time diagnostic engine that provides diagnostic functionality for integrated vehicle health systems on-board a flight vehicle or embedded into a run-time architecture; and 3) RDSTM, the remote diagnosis server, an application that can support multiple simultaneous diagnostic sessions from a variety of remote systems. Programs that will benefit from this technology include commercial and military aviation, advanced transportation systems, the shuttle, the international space station, robotic and autonomous explorers.

Those honored with this award included: Rick Alena, Jim Cockrell, Bill Hindson, Ann Patterson-Hine, Dwight Sanderfer and Julie Schonfeld, all of Ames.

Kevin Cavanaugh, Somnath Deb, Charles Domagala, Sudipto Ghoshal, Venkata Malepati, Venkatesulu Malepati, Krishna Pattipati, and Roshan Shrestha of Qualtech were also recognized.

The second space act award was for the ‘Method and System for an Automated Tool for En Route Traffic Controllers.’ Direct-To is based on the trajectory analysis methodology and software resident in the Center/ TRACON Automation System (CTAS). In today's air traffic control system, aircraft fly on fixed airways and air traffic controllers maintain aircraft separation by visual monitoring of radar position, heading and altitude information. The fixed airway structure and the lack of automation for radar controllers results in inefficient routings and air traffic control operations. The Direct-To tool continuously and automatically analyzes all aircraft routings to identify those aircraft that can save time by flying direct to a downstream fix on their route of flight. Direct-To displays route advisories, critical aircraft separation information and other information that helps controllers determine when direct routes are possible given current traffic conditions allowing controllers to quickly assess route and altitude options without being distracted from their primary responsibility for safe aircraft separation.

Those honored with this award included: Danny Chiu, Heinz Erzberger, David McNally, and Philippe Stassart of Ames.

To obtain more information about the Space Act Award program, visit: or contact the Ames Space Act Award Liaison officer Betsy Robinson (Code DK) at: brobinson@ All Space Act awards are coordinated through the Ames Commercial Technology Office.

By Betsy Robinson

Source: NASA Ames Research Center Astrogram, July 2002, pg. 5.

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