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12.04.07 Division Highlights

Wind-Optimal Routes Separation Assurance Automation: Wind-optimal routes, starting from the top-of-climb to the top-of-descent, are now calculated in the Future ATM Concepts Evaluation Tool. The objective is to investigate the hypothesis that trajectory-based automation will allow more aircraft to fly wind-optimal routes, since automated trajectory and conflict analysis methods are largely independent of procedural and controller workload-related restrictions, which are common today. The next step is to input the traffic flows to trajectory-based automation functions and compare the performance of automated separation assurance where all aircraft fly flight plan routes to that of the case where all aircraft fly wind-optimal routes.

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Initial Super Density Concept of Operations Delivery: The initial Concept of Operations milestone for Airspace Super Density Operations (ASDO) is complete. This version reflects initial ASDO research results. Four major technical challenges in the ASDO research area are defined: enabling precision trajectories, defining regional resource optimization processes, achieving robustness to varied and chaotic weather conditions, and satisfying environmental considerations. This version serves as a baseline, updated yearly to reflect new research findings and integration efforts between ASDO and the Airportal project. Future versions will address feedback from external reviewers, including the JPDO.

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Completed Interagency Agreement with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Weather Service: NASA and the National Weather Service (NWS) will improve future Air Traffic Management (ATM) decisions that use probabilistic forecasts. Data from existing probabilistic forecasts for guiding air traffic decisions will be provided for this work. These forecasts are made by the NWS to compute stratus burn-off at the San Francisco Airport. In this agreement, NASA will get real-time and archived stratus data for use in an ATM research tool. NWS will give NASA guidance on how to best use and improve these data for ATM. Accuracy metrics that are not normally available and useful for risk analysis of ATM decisions will also be provided. This work is of interest to the Weather – ATM Working Group of the FAA, which recommended the use of probabilistic weather data in future ATM tools.

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Review of a Tactical Weather Avoidance Model: A researcher presented a model of air traffic moving laterally around convective weather in the airspace. The model is built inside of the Airspace Concept Evaluation System, a simulation of the air transportation system. This model will be used to study how a future tactical weather avoidance system would integrate with a flight separation system or an arrival traffic management system.

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Spacecraft Handling Qualities Experiment: A recently concluded simulation experiment on the VMS investigated the handling qualities required for spacecraft rendezvous and docking in low earth orbit. The experiment simulated the docking of the Crew Exploration Vehicle with the International Space Station. The month-long experiment evaluated four different vehicle control systems with three levels of control cross coupling between translational and rotational control systems. The pilot’s primary visual reference was a head-down display with a docking camera view. The effect of additional time delay in the docking camera view on pilot opinion and performance was also assessed. The test subjects for this experiment, 10 current/former NASA pilot astronauts and four NASA/Army test pilots, provided pilot opinion data in the form of Cooper-Harper handling qualities ratings and Workload Index ratings. This experiment is part of a broader effort to develop handling qualities design guidelines for piloted spacecraft.

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Last Updated: November 7, 2018

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