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HIGHLIGHTS ARCHIVE
06.24.09
Division Highlights

Contents
Capsule Entry Handling Qualities Experiment: A pilot-in-the loop experiment was conducted in the Ames VMS on June 8-19 for the Spacecraft Handling Qualities (SHaQ) project. The goal of the experiment was to study handling qualities for piloting tasks during atmospheric entry of a capsule vehicle returning from Earth orbit. Six former NASA astronauts and two NASA test pilots participated in this experiment, providing data on the piloting task in the form of Cooper-Harper and Workload Index ratings as well as general comments and feedback. Preliminary results indicate that in the event of primary guidance system failure, pilots can manually steer the capsule to the vicinity (about 10 miles) of the splashdown site using only vehicle state information and simple open-loop guidance cues that provide target values of vertical speed and total energy at a few waypoints along the descent trajectory. Pilot comments suggest that some minor display enhancements would improve handling qualities for this task.

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ASDO Technical Interchange Meeting with Boeing: On June 17th-18th, a Technical Interchange Meeting was held at NASA Ames with Air Traffic Management research personnel from Boeing Commercial Aircraft (Seattle), Boeing Research and Technology (Long Beach) and NASA NextGen Airspace Super Density Operations. Discussions centered on the application of research activities to mid-term, high-density terminal operations (2015-2018). Researchers briefed ongoing activities in concept storyboard development, ACES modeling and simulation of high-density terminal operations, and preliminary results of stochastic scheduling studies. TH personnel presented plans for an upcoming simulation of controller-managed spacing, and demonstrated a tool to aide in the development and evaluation of RNP procedures in constrained terminal airspace (TRAC). Boeing researchers briefed a series of trade studies focused on mid-term concept options and investigating single and two-tier scheduling with and without terminal route and speed flexibility. Boeing researchers also presented the preliminary results of a study to determine how varied flight crew procedures impact RNP path and arrival time precision for efficient descent operations. A number of areas of potential collaboration were identified: 1) concept development, 2) scheduling of and airspace design for efficient high-density terminal operations, and 3) aircraft descent variance modeling and procedural design for minimization of descent profile variance.

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