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Successful Checkout of Integrated Departure Scheduling Software
NASA's Precision Departure Release Capability (PDRC) team recently completed an evaluation of the initial PDRC software system. The software includes NASA's Surface Management System (SMS) and the research version of the FAA's Traffic Management Advisor (RTMA) enhancements that implement the initial PDRC functionality. The PDRC research activity will assess the value of using precise, surface trajectory-based OFF time predictions for en-route departure scheduling in Call for Release situations. PDRC uses SMS to generate precise OFF time estimates and delivers these to RTMA for en-route departure scheduling. The software integration was completed in May at NASA's North Texas (NTX) Research Station and successfully evaluated in a series of tests using both recorded and live radar data. This integration and checkout activity sets the stage for an engineering shadow evaluation scheduled to begin in July 2010. Objectives for the July PDRC evaluation include further verification of software system performance, refinement of the operational concept and procedures and baseline data collection.

A Lunar Lander Simulation on the VMS began April 21 and ended June 8
This was a follow-up study of the Lunar Lander experiment conducted in November 2009 to evaluate handling qualities for precision landing. The goal of the 2010 study was to evaluate: (1) effects of enhancements to the displays and control systems based on pilot feedback from the 2009 experiment, and, (2) motion cueing techniques for simulating the dynamics of vehicles flying in lunar gravity. Eight evaluation pilots participated in this experiment: one Apollo astronaut, four Shuttle astronauts, and three NASA test pilots. Preliminary analysis of data from these pilots indicate that the motion cues were consistent with vehicle dynamics and that some of the control system and display enhancements improved handling qualities.

Longest Convective Weather Forecast Yet Shows Promise for Use in Air Traffic Management
Data from the Consolidated Storm Prediction for Aviation (CoSPA) was analyzed to determine the potential to use CoSPA in predicting the impact of convective weather on airspace capacity. CoSPA is the result of a collaborative effort across government agencies, universities, and private organizations to generate a tool capable of predicting the location and intensity of convective weather up to 8 hours in advance. Three days of CoSPA data were analyzed to estimate the impact of weather on airspace sectors, primarily measured by the percentage of a sector's volume that was filled by convective weather. To assess accuracy, the predictions were compared against the observed weather. Initial findings show that the correlation of predicted to observed impact on sectors decreases monotonically as the look-ahead time is increased up to 8 hours. A simple probabilistic model was also developed to show the likelihood of weather affecting a sector based on CoSPA predictions. The results suggest that CoSPA can be an effective tool to aid air traffic managers. Results were presented on June 7 at the Systems Modeling and Optimization (AFO) branch seminar and will be presented on June 16 to visitors from the FAA.

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Last Updated: November 7, 2018

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