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08.07.07 Division Highlights

Separation Assurance and Traffic Flow Management Tool Integration: The trial planning capabilities for Separation Assurance resident in the Center/TRACON Automation System (CTAS) have been dynamically integrated with the trial planning capabilities for Traffic Flow Management (TFM) resident in the Future ATM Concepts Evaluation Tool (FACET). Using this functionality, a trial plan (what if) analysis of a route change for any aircraft is simultaneously analyzed for traffic conflicts on a 20-minute time horizon and for TFM considerations, like airspace sector overloads, on a 1-2 hour time horizon. During a recent lab test, the linked Separation Assurance and TFM graphic displays clearly showed why under today's operations some direct routes are issued without restriction while others are not. Comparing the nominal flight plan route for a North-East bound Dallas/Fort-Worth departure to the commonly-issued direct route clearance to the Pocket City (PXV) VORTAC in Evansville, Indiana, the integrated system clearly shows that both routes cut through the central portions of the same three sectors in Memphis Center en route from DFW to PXV. If the direct had run parallel or close to a sector boundary, or had cut across the corner of an airspace sector, it would likely not be acceptable in today's operations due to coordination requirements. This simple and common example illustrates the strong effect that airspace boundaries have on routing under today's operations and further confirms the important link between Separation Assurance automation and airspace design.

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Dynamic High-Fidelity FMS/Datalink for Any Aircraft in an ATM Simulation: A new capability allowing the dynamic repositioning of the 747-400 simulator in the Crew Vehicle Systems Research Facility (CVSRF) has been tested and refined in simulations with the trajectory-based automation in the Center/TRACON Automation System (CTAS). Dynamic repositioning gives each aircraft in the air traffic simulation the advanced equipment on the 747-400, a situation that represents the minimum level of equipage in the 2025 timeframe and provides for more general study of trajectory-based operations using current aircraft equipment integrated over datalink with advanced ground automation. The simulations, which examined more than 60 different conflict pairs, gave an indication of the proportion of potential loss-of-separation events that may be resolved using trajectory-based algorithms as a function of time-to-conflict and conflict type (e.g., climbing vs. level aircraft or level vs. level aircraft). The testing also suggested appropriate flight deck procedures for responding to different conflict resolution maneuvers communicated via datalink and uncovered opportunities for improving the fidelity of the ground-based automation system.

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Augmented Reality Tower Tool Study Results Presented: A poster titled "Facial Expression Affective State Recognition for Air Traffic Control Automation Concept Exploration" and demonstration are being presented at the Siggraph International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques in San Diego, CA. Dr. Rana el Kaliouby and Wael Amer representing the MIT Media Lab Affective Computing Group are participating with NASA staff in these presentations. The Augmented Reality Tower Tool can superimpose live aircraft track data onto head mounted light-guided optical element see-through displays designed to aid controller situational awareness.

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Handling Qualities Standard for Piloted Spacecraft: The Spacecraft Handling Qualities Project hosted a meeting at the Vertical Motion Simulator (VMS) to present plans and review status of the project for key participants in the ESMD quarterly review, which was held at Ames. The group included Administrator Griffin, Doc Horowitz (AA for ESMD), Doug Cook (Deputy AA for ESMD), Jeff Hanley (Cx Program Manager), as well as many other Headquarters and Constellation Program staff members. The group was given a project overview, a briefing on the recent lunar lander simulation, a briefing on the plans for upcoming CEV/ISS rendezvous and docking simulations, and an opportunity to fly the lander simulation on the VMS. The entire group discussed various aspects of the project, its applicability to CEV, its scope, the timing of producing a "Standard," etc. Administrator Griffin participated during all the briefings and indicated strong support for the project's objectives. The Administrator and other attendees flew the lander simulation and Dr. Griffin became quite involved with the engineering aspects of spacecraft handling qualities—so much so that he returned the next day for a private session to explore the handling qualities issues more closely. Both the Administrator and Doc Horowitz left with very high opinions of the work—thanks to the whole team's efforts.

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Last Updated: November 7, 2018

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