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HIGHLIGHTS ARCHIVE
03.02.11
Division Highlights

Contents
Photo of two ceiling-mounted large flat screen displays used in UAS-NAS modeling and simulation research at NASA
Cockpit Situation Display (left) and UAS Ground Control Station (right) Displays

UAS-NAS Modeling and Simulation at NASA Ames Research Center
The Simulation Laboratories (SimLabs) at NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) completed initial development of a modeling and simulation capability designed to gather data on integrating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System (NAS). This task developed the foundation of a hardware and software infrastructure and used it to demonstrate the effect of equipping a UAS with Traffic Collision Avoidance System-II (TCAS-II) capability. The infrastructure consisted of a credible and verifiable real-time human-in-the-loop and hardware-in-the-loop simulation capability that incorporates UAS ground stations from remote locations into an integrated, robust NAS simulation environment. The final demonstration included NASA's Level-D Boeing 747 simulator and ATC laboratory at the Crew Vehicle Systems Research Facility, an Army UAS ground control station simulator, a cockpit situation display developed by Ames' human systems integration researchers, and a TCAS-II server enabled by a newly-designed UAS Research Platform (UASRP) High Level Architecture interface. This demonstration enabled NASA to investigate the display of traffic information and automated TCAS II response algorithms for the UAS operator. The results will be incorporated into future versions of the UASRP software design. This work was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Diagram of the UAS research architecture
UAS Research Platform Architecture & Components

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Sector Combining Advisory Algorithm Presented at Cleveland Center
NASA Ames researchers Karl Bilimoria, Michael Bloem, Michael Drew, and Bob Windhorst visited Cleveland Air Route Traffic Control Center in Oberlin, Ohio on February 24–25, 2011 to present and gain operational feedback on the Sector Combining Advisory Algorithm (SCAA). SCAA uses predictions of air traffic and available staffing levels to advise air traffic supervisors about how and when to combine airspace volumes, called sectors, controlled by air traffic controllers, into larger volumes. The NASA team presented SCAA advisories for Cleveland airspace based on historical traffic to fifteen Cleveland Center staff, including nine controller supervisors. After viewing SCAA advisories, the Cleveland Center staff gave positive feedback on the usefulness of SCAA and also suggested some additional capabilities, such as using a more accurate measure of controller workload than aircraft count and providing advisories for when more than one controller is needed for a sector. Two opportunities for future collaboration were identified: the first, for SCAA advisories to inform sector design decisions in an ongoing Cleveland Center airspace redesign project; the second, a future field demonstration of SCAA at Cleveland Center.

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NASA Provides Briefing to the JPDO Aircraft Working Group
On February 17th, 2011, Mr. Harry Swenson provided an in-depth briefing on the Super Density Operations research focus area and the Terminal Area Precision Scheduling and Spacing (TAPSS) system technology to the quarterly meeting of the Joint Development and Planning Office Aircraft Working Group. TAPSS is a strategic and tactical planning tool that provides Traffic Management Coordinators, and En Route and Terminal Radar Approach Control air traffic controllers the ability to efficiently optimize the flow of aircraft towards a demand-impacted airport. The briefing included a description of the Super Density Operations concept of operations and a detailed review of the TAPSS technology. The Working Group indicated this work has direct application to the mid-term NextGen concept and NASA is developing a critically needed technology.

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Integration of CTAS, FANS-1/A Data Comm, and ERAM for Operational Trials
Technical meetings with representatives from NASA, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin were held on February 9-10 and February 22-23, 2011 at NASA Ames Research Center. The purpose of these meetings was to discuss technical aspects of a task to integrate NASA trajectory automation with the FAA's En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) system and FANS-1/A integrated FMS/datalink into a field test system suitable for operational trials in the National Airspace System. The target field test architecture includes a Boeing “Gateway” that enables two-way communication between NASA ground-based trajectory automation (Center-TRACON Automation System, CTAS) and revenue flights equipped with FANS-1/A datalink. A two-way connection between CTAS and ERAM is enabled via an existing ERAM capability called the “Command Serviced Gateway” and the architecture requires no changes to existing ERAM Build 1 software. Lockheed Martin also expressed strong interest in NASA trajectory automation algorithms and software for future builds of ERAM. The goal of this work is to demonstrate an integrated system that could be the basis for future operational trials of a near-term concept for trajectory-based operations with air/ground datalink communication. This task is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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