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AIR TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT AUTOMATION LABORATORY
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ATMAL
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Photo of the entire ATMAL research laboratory.

The Air Traffic Management Automation Laboratory (ATMAL) is a facility designed to support air traffic management research including the development and testing of Center TRACON Automation System (CTAS). At the heart of the ATMAL is a large multi-user computational environment consisting of over 100 UNIX workstations.

Photo of an Ames researcher using one of the stations in the lab.
The ATMAL computational resources are reconfigurable to provide the user with the flexibility to create a simple or complex computational environment, depending on his/her requirements.

To support Air Traffic Management Research, the ATMAL has an extensive simulation capability, which is able to simulate both Center and/or TRACON ATC environments. The simulation system is capable of emulating the existing ATC environment or the enhanced ATC environment of CTAS. Simulation has been used extensively by NASA in the evolution of CTAS from a research concept to a field-deployable evaluation system.

Photo of an Ames researcher using one of the stations in the lab.
The simulation environment has three major subsystems:
  • ATC Simulation
  • Air Traffic Simulation
  • Audio Communication Simulation
In support of the development and testing of CTAS, the ATMAL also has connections to several data sources critical to the operation and development of CTAS. CTAS developers can “shadow” Dallas/Fort Worth Center and other operations using live air traffic data feeds from these air traffic facilities. This allows CTAS developers to test and evaluate CTAS with realistic air traffic scenarios. The ATMAL also has a connection to live weather data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration which is used by CTAS to support the prediction of 4D aircraft trajectories.

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Last Updated: October 13, 2016

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