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Space Shuttle Landing and Rollout Training: The second Space Shuttle astronaut training session for 2008 was completed recently on the Vertical Motion Simulator (VMS). This periodic training familiarizes shuttle crews with vehicle handling during approach, landing, and rollout under normal operating conditions as well as off-nominal and failure conditions. The training sessions are usually completed over two weeks, but were compressed into one because of Hurricane Ike. Over the one-week period, 20 pilots and 5 mission specialists completed 282 training runs. Crews for upcoming STS-119, STS-125, STS-126, STS-127 and STS-128 missions were included in the training. The STS-125 (Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission) crew was not originally scheduled for training but was added at the end of the training session when their mission was delayed. The VMS personnel successfully prepared the STS-125's training matrix with less than one day's notice. This was the second training session that used the new state-of-the-art image generator in the VMS. The shuttle training simulation uses 24 visual databases representing potential landing sites used for regular and emergency landings. For this training session, cultural lighting was added to the night scenes for all 24 databases. The shuttle pilots commented that the improved night time visual scenes significantly improved the realism of the simulation and the effectiveness of the training.

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Sector Combination Algorithm Review at Cleveland Center: NASA researchers Michael Bloem (AFC) and Pramod Gupta (AFC/UARC) met with FAA operations managers and supervisors at the Cleveland Air Route Traffic Control Center on October 9-10, 2008 to discuss an algorithm developed at Ames that suggests airspace sector combinations to efficiently utilize air traffic control resources. Mark Evans, a former systems operations manager at Cleveland Center, coordinated the meeting. Michael Bloem and Pramod Gupta presented the algorithm for combining sectors to FAA operations managers and supervisors, the target users of the algorithm. Response to the algorithm was positive, particularly because FAA managers and supervisors felt it could contribute to Center operations immediately. The FAA participants indicated that a tool based on the sector combination algorithm could help make sector combination decisions and that an extension of the algorithm could provide quantitative information for defining controller areas of specialization. The participants also explained the importance of achieving gradual and repeatable sector combination results to assure that controller situational awareness is maintained over multiple sector combinations that accommodate daily or seasonally varying traffic conditions. Future analysis and algorithm development research will consider the issues uncovered at this meeting, such as controller area of specialization definition and the importance of gradual and repeatable sector combination results.

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Distribution of Automated Conflict Resolution Algorithm to FAA: A copy of the automated conflict detection and resolution software package known as the Advanced Airspace Concept (AAC) was distributed to the FAA. It was packaged as an extension of the Airspace Concept Evaluation System (ACES), which is a national air transportation system fast-time simulation. The combination of ACES and AAC was successfully installed and configured by the FAA at the William J. Hughes Technical Center in New Jersey. The software will support a joint experiment between the NASA Ames Research Center and the FAA Technical Center. It will determine the effects of reduced horizontal separation requirements on the capacity of airspace in the air transportation system.

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Modeling weather impacts to ATM Workshop: Metron Aviation held the third of three NRA supported weather workshops at NASA Ames to discuss concepts to minimize the impact of non-convective weather constraints to ATM. The first one was held at Ames and the second was held at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO. Presenters shared relevant weather and ATM research and provided an update of this NRA work. Metron presented their causality diagram of aviation weather hazards that was also presented at a recent AIAA conference. Dr. Mitchell from SUNY-Stony Brook presented geometric models for the impact of weather hazards on airspace capacity using hard and soft constraints. Dr. Steiner presented a refresher on ensemble modeling and results of a novel method to compute an ensemble forecast for convection and turbulence. Dr. Mukherjee discussed planning a Ground Delay Program under uncertainty in airport capacity using the SFO stratus forecast. Dr. Song from MITRE presented Methodologies of Estimating Airspace Capacity under Severe Weather Impact. Other presentations were provided by MITRE, Mosaic ATM, and Sensis. In addition to these presentations, researchers agreed to setup a meeting to better use the automated SFO probabilistic forecasts. NCAR also agreed to send recent results of their ensemble forecasts to NASA and Mosaic ATM for their research. In attendance were representatives from the FAA, AvMet, National Weather Service, Sensis, US Air Force Research Labs.

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User and Stakeholder Workshop on Integration of Advanced Vehicles and Concepts into NextGen: Harry Swenson (AFA) led and coordinated a "User and Stakeholder" workshop on the NRA, "Integration of Advanced Vehicles and Concepts into the Next Generation Air Transportation System." This workshop was held in conjunction with the Fundamental Aeronautics Program's Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA, October 8-9. The Raytheon Company and Sensis Corporation NRA teams used the workshop to gather user and stakeholder input for their analyses on integrating advanced vehicles into the National Airspace System in the NextGen timeframe. A plenary session was held to introduce the user and stakeholder groups to the NRA study. Focused breakout sessions were conducted on each of the vehicle classes being considered under this NRA. The advanced vehicles being investigated include: supersonic transports and business jets, very large aircraft, very light jets, un-crewed aerial vehicles, rotorcraft and tiltrotors, and cruise-efficient short take-off and landing aircraft. The invited stakeholders included a broad-based group of experts from the three Aeronautics research programs (Fundamental Aeronautics, Airspace Systems and Aviation Safety), operational and research experts from the FAA, JPDO, and DoD, Congressional representatives, aerospace manufacturing companies, air transport companies and advocacy groups, Mitre/CAASD and MIT-Lincoln Laboratory.

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Last Updated: November 7, 2018

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