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BBC filming of Lunar Lander Simulations in the Vertical Motion Simulator (VMS)
February 20, 2015

Image of the VMS Lander Cab OTW database showing the landing pad.
Landing site for lunar lander in the VMS visual scene

NASA Ames recently collaborated with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in preparation for their new Spring 2015 segment of the TV series “Stargazing Live,” which is an astronomy program that has been broadcasting since 2011. Utilizing the lunar lander simulation in SimLabs, and bringing together BBC's scientist Dr. Brian Cox and Apollo astronaut Russell “Rusty” Schweickart, the collaboration involved two days of simulated lunar landings as well as interviews with former astronauts Schweickart and the Aviation Systems Division's Hall of Fame Astronaut, Karol “Bo” Bobko. As the Apollo 9 Lunar Module Pilot (March 3-13, 1969), Schweickart was involved in testing critical systems for a successful Moon landing, including the lunar module engines, backpack life support systems, navigation systems, and docking maneuvers. Bobko served as the pilot on STS-6 (April 4–9, 1983) and as the mission commander on STS-51-D (April 12–19, 1985) and STS-51-J (October 3–7, 1985).

This collaboration was a chance to share the Ames Vertical Motion Simulator (VMS) and our astronaut luminaries with the BBC and its worldwide audience. On the first day of the two day visit, the BBC crew were briefed on the technologies behind the lunar landing simulation and were also provided information about the general characteristics of the VMS that would be used for the simulation. On the second day, Cox and Schweickart flew numerous lunar landings for “Stargazing Live” followed by Cox's interview of Bobko about the importance of simulations for both the development of vehicles and pilot training. They also discussed the VMS and its specifications, as well as VMS's contributions to aerospace research and mission support, including over 3 decades of Space Shuttle Orbiter simulations for engineering studies and astronaut training. (POC: Steve Beard)

Global Challenges to Improve Air Navigation Performance
February 20, 2015

Dr. Banavar Sridhar, Senior Scientist for Air Transportation Systems at NASA Ames Research Center, attended the Global Challenges to Improve Air Navigation Performance Workshop organized by the NEXTOR Consortium and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) February 11-13, 2015 in Asilomar, CA. Dr. Sridhar spoke on a panel to address Global Air Traffic Management (ATM) research issues. The panelists presented their views on: (a) What is “global ATM research” and how does it differ from ATM research in general? (b) What are the grand challenges in global ATM research? (c) What ATM research areas are the most understudied? Over studied? (d) Linking ATM research to development to deployment and use. What are the weakest links in this chain and how can we strengthen them? (e) What advice would you give to a young researcher thinking of going into Air Traffic Management? As the concluding session in the workshop, the panel provided an opportunity for the workshop to reflect on global challenges facing aviation operations. (POC: Dr. Banavar Sridhar)

ICAO CAEP Aviation Environmental Impacts Seminar
February 20, 2015

Dr. Banavar Sridhar attended the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) Environmental Impacts Seminar, February 10-11, 2015 in Alexandria, VA. Dr. Sridhar is a member of the Impact and Science Group (ISG), formed to provide the best possible consensus information to the committee. Dr. Sridhar presented NASA's air traffic operations research designed to balance fuel efficiency and environmental impact. The group will summarize and critique ongoing research on the prediction and rerouting of aircraft around contrail-prone areas. The group will also produce a new white paper on the impact of climate on aviation, summarizing the state of knowledge regarding climate change risk and resilience. (POC: Dr. Banavar Sridhar

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