layout University Affiliated Research Center - UC Santa Cruz - NASA Ames Research Center
Research

Aerospace Systems

  • Supporting NASA's mission to revolutionize aviation
  • Improving air traffic flow to optimize capacity both in the air space and on the ground at the nation’s airports.
  • Meeting national requirements for greater automation and autonomous reasoning in ATM systems.
The UARC's Aerospace Systems tasks encompass the following focus areas:
  • Automated operations management systems, interfaces, and procedures
  • Cockpit systems, interfaces, and procedures
  • Human factors, their effect on aerospace operations, and error mitigation
  • Hazardous environment characterization, detection, and avoidance systems
  • Path-finding applications of ultra-reliable software techniques, using formal methods and automated code generation
  • Design, simulation, integration, and flight testing of modern flight control systems for rotorcraft and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

This research requires the integration of information technology, and the possible benefits of other technologies are also being explored. Work in this area is expected to grow to meet the needs of the National Airspace System.

Air Traffic Management (ATM) Automation Concepts in Aerospace Systems
  • Continued supporting enhancements to Future ATM Concepts Evaluation Tool (FACET) tool, including use of real-time Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) initiatives and Base of Aircraft Data (BADA) 3.9 data.
  • Developed an integrated Environmental Aviation Toolbox application for FACET.
  • Developed and deployed an operational FACET/Center-TRACON Automation System (CTAS) system to perform Dynamic Weather Rerouting (DWR) at Fort Worth Center.
  • Performed environmental aviation research with emphasis on contrail versus emission tradeoffs and trajectory optimization
  • Supported research efforts to incorporate Traffic Flow Management-Traffic Management Advisor (TFM-TMA) methods to Anchorage Center
Air Traffic Management Software Development
  • Completed software development and helped conduct two critical human in the loop simulations. Successfully increased the FAA's interest in Air Traffic Management Technology Demonstration-1 (ATD-1) tools to enhance the FAA's current Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) investment in Performance Based Navigation (PBN) procedures throughout the National Airspace System.
  • Provided software development and integration support to conduct a human in the loop simulation of Spot and Runway Departure Advisor (SARDA). Integrated a number of innovative capabilities, include an Electronic Flight Strip (eStrip). As a result of the simulation's success, the Charlotte (Carolina) Airport is interested in conducting a similar simulation towards remedying its surface management challenges.
  • Completed software development and successful deployment of the Dynamic Weather Routing (DWR) software at the American Airlines dispatch center. The tool is aimed at assisting airlines to attain significant time savings while routing around the weather, therefore, reducing their operating cost.
  • Concluded the human in the loop simulation for Efficient Descent Advisor (EDA) tool. This tool is to provide the most fuel-saving routes for aircraft descending into airports.
  • Continued to develop and extend the ATM data warehouse and analysis tools to allow research and analysis of data collected from FAA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and any other data sources.
NTX Research
  • Continued to play a critical role as the Data Custodian for the research organization. Maintained data feeds and archiving from research critical data sources.
  • Successfully deployed the Dynamic Weather Routing (DWR) system at American Airlines. Collected significant amount of data for benefit studies.
  • Continued to maintain systems and support the evaluation of Precision Departure and Release Capability (PDRC) at Dallas Airport (DFW).
  • Completed the traffic flow change analysis in support of Super Density Operations research (SDO).
  • Established and provided connectivity support for Unmanned Arial Systems (UAS) multi-center research demonstrations. The FAA and NASA successfully completed their multi-center demonstration that included piloted flight simulators and simulated autonomous aircraft, all communicating through the link at North Texas Research Station (NTX).
Flight Control System Software Development
  • Continued development of software enhancements and algorithm improvements to the flight control software tool suite to meet Army Aeroflightdynamics Directorate (AFDD) research missions and industry needs. Preparation is underway to deploy new releases to external user community: Comprehensive Identification from FrEquency Responses® (CIFER® 6.1.00), CONtrol Designer's Unified InTerface® (CONDUIT® 5.3), Real-time Interactive Prototype Technology Integration Development Environment (RIPTIDE 2.1), A Software Library for Autonomous Obstacle Field Navigation (libOFN 1.1) and A Software Library for Sensors (libSensor 1.0). Some highlights:
    • Developed integrated parallel computing/pre-linearization capability in CONDUIT® that achieves 15x overall performance improvement.
    • Developed software library (libSensor) in RIPTIDE to simulate high-resolution, high-rate 3D LADAR sensor.
    • Ported CIFER to build with Intel Visual Fortran Compiler to support all recent versions of MATLAB run time environments.
  • Completed longitudinal axis flight control laws optimization for the Cessna Flight Control Design program. Work initiated on the lateral/directional axes.
  • Completed the Aurora Autonomous Landing Studies project.
  • Completed a one-week Unmanned K-MAX CIFER/CONDUIT Flight Control Training Course for the Lockheed Martin/Kaman K-MAX team.
  • CIFER®, (Comprehensive Identification from FrEquency Responses), a system identification tool based on a comprehensive frequency-response approach.
  • CONDUIT®, (Control Designer's Unified InTerface), a state-of-the-art flight control design and optimization tool.
  • RIPTIDE, (Real-time Interactive Prototype Technology Integration Development Environment), a high fidelity desktop simulation tool.
  • A Data Management System (TRENDS/FIDGET/SMACK)
  • More About Flight Control
Code YA Engineering Support
  • Performed safety analysis to run the 7X10 wind tunnel with a movable vortex generator at various speeds and loading conditions. Submitted a safety document following the analysis.
  • Designed a motorized and remotely controllable track for a pressure instrumented wing and a vortex generator. Oversaw the fabrication and installation of components in the tunnel.
  • Acquired and calibrated the load balance (Blams) to be used in the wing-vortex interaction test to measure the integrated lift and drag of the wing. Also, estimated its operation limits,
  • Completed processing 6TB of dynamic stall particle image velocimetry (PIV) images that were acquired using 11MP cameras. This involved learning new software, exporting the images into the new software, pre-process the images to account for tunnel vibration and laser reflection and, finally, process the images to estimate the velocity field surrounding the dynamically oscillating airfoil.
  • Completed processing a portion of PIV images acquired during the National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex (NFAC) UH-60 test. The results were summarized into a test report and were presented at the American Helicopter Society (AHS) conference.
  • Developed a software algorithm that allowed extracting vortex properties (even when the vortex is influences by more than one other neighboring vortex or vortex sheets) from the PIV images. Shared the Matlab code to NASA Langley research personnel.
  • Completed acquiring performance data for multi-rotor configurations, including coaxial, tandem and tilt rotors.
Human Systems Software Development
  • Continued support of the Army Aeroflightdynamics Directorate (AFDD) Human Systems Lab at NASA Ames that performs research into the design and testing of human interface, particularly with respect to helicopter pilot interfaces and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) ground control stations.
    • Successfully supported the Multi-Operator Multi-UAS (MOMU) experiment.
    • Successfully supported the Universal Ground Control Station (UGCS) experiment.
    • Developed mumap enhancements for upcoming Terrain and Obstacle Avoidance Display (TOAD) experiment and Modular Integrated Survivability (MIS) project
Airspace Systems Modeling and Analysis
  • The study "Comparison of Fuel Consumption of Descent Trajectories under Arrival Metering" identified the most fuel-efficient procedure for absorbing delay when an aircraft is required to cross a meter fix at a specific time. Ten popular Boeing and Airbus aircraft models were considered in the analysis. It was found that the optimal strategy is to first reduce descent speed as much as possible, then reduce cruise speed as much as possible, and finally execute a path-stretch maneuver. Analysis presented in the paper, published in the AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC) Conference, provides a foundation for Efficient Descent Advisor (EDA) delay absorption strategies from a fuel savings perspective.
  • A second study, "Arrival Delay Absorption Using Extended Metering with Speed Control," published in the AIAA Aviation Technology, Integration, and Operations (ATIO) Conference, was conducted in support of the Air Traffic Management Technology Demonstration-1 (ATD-1) project. It examined how many Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCCs) away from the arrival airport must aircraft reduce speed in order to absorb delay assigned to them due to arrival metering at the airport. For an average day in the National Airspace System, it was found that 68% of metered flights can absorb their assigned delay by reducing speed either in the same or at an adjacent ARTCC from their arrival airport.
  • The third study, "Delay Sensitivity to Call For Release Scheduling Time," also published in the AIAA ATIO Conference, was performed as a part of Precision Departure Release Capability (PDRC) research. This study showed that if all departures are included in the Call For Release (CFR) process and departure and taxi-out time uncertainties are assumed, there is no benefit to CFR prior to gate-pushback.
  • Finally, the main objective of the study discussed in the "Wheels-off Time Prediction Using Surface Traffic Metrics," published in the AIAA ATIO Conference, identified seven metrics derived from Dallas-Fort Worth airport surface traffic data that could be useful for predicting wheels-off time at airports without surveillance systems like Airport Surface Detection Equipment, Model-X (ASDE-X) and automation systems like Surface Decision Support System (SDSS). Distance from the gate to the runway entrance was found to be the most important parameter for predicting wheels-off time.)
Air Traffic Management Fundamental Research
  • Completed the 2012 Spot and Runway Departure Advisor (SARDA) human-in-the-loop simulations at the FutureFlight Central. This was a complete out-of-the-window simulation with the SARDA scheduler providing gate-hold and controller advisories. The following were the advancements beyond the 2010 SARDA simulations: gate hold for reducing ramp congestion, TMI aircraft, Electronic Flight Strips and refined schedulers. Task 57 personnel were leads in scheduler development and data analysis, and provided support in concept development as well as implementation.
  • Developed a new concept of operations for collaborative gate holding in SARDA, called SARDA-Collaborative Decision Making (SARDA-CDM). The concept was reviewed and published in the 2012 AIAA ATIO conference. UARC researcher was the lead for the concept development.
  • A study was conducted on exploring the use of the spot release planner heuristic in complete taxiway planning. Results were presented at the 2012 AIAA ATIO conference.
  • TTSAFE2 analysis was completed. TTSAFE3 experiment was conducted and the analysis is ongoing. UARC staff has led the structure of the data and scripts for analysis and has aided in data analysis.
  • Continued to support the TAPSS HITL studies.
Dynamic Airspace Configuration (DAC) Research and Software Support
  • The sector combining algorithm (OASIS) has been refined with many improvements and features.
  • A graphical user interface was designed for OASIS, and ported for use on an Adroid tablet.
  • Extensive analysis on OASIS was performed to tune its operating parameters.
  • An HITL for testing OASIS is being planned with support software and analysis tools being developed.
  • OASIS performance and results were presented at the AIAA ATIO Conference and for SMEs from the FAA and Cleveland Center.
  • A sector redesign analysis was completed on Cleveland Center, and development began on a tool to improve future sector performance analysis.
  • An analysis was performed on space launch airspace, which studied launch windows, times of the day, and rocket launch azimuths.
Human Support Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Research
  • Presented a research paper, “Visual Analysis of Air Traffic Data Using Aircraft Density and Conflict Probability,” at Infotech@Aerospace 2012 Conference.
  • Presented a research paper, “Computing Flight Departure Times Using an Advanced First-Come First-Served Scheduler,” at 12th AIAA Aviation Technology and Integrations Conference.
  • Presented Concept of Operation, Airspace Concept Evaluation System (ACES) architecture change for UAS, UAS model generation methodology, and communication latency simulation results at the Project Annual Meeting.
  • Completed the Concept of Operation document for the controller-provided concepts for Midterm and NextGen timeframes.
  • Conducted 160 ACES simulations with aerial photography mission to investigate the impact of communication latency. The results suggest that up to 2 minutes of latency does not cause significant disruption.
  • Developed a UAS performance model generation tool that uses publicly available information to generate models for ACES simulation. Also developed a methodology to fine-tune the performance models using recorded flight data.
  • Made numerous modifications and enhancements to the ACES simulation tool including support for new operational concepts, integration of Tactical Separation Assured Flight Environment (TSAFE), integration of Jointly Optimal Collision Avoidance (JOCA), and modification for altitude and speed change maneuver.
  • Enhanced real time human-in-the-loop simulation MACS to handle Visual Flight Rule (VFR) flights.
Engineering/Software Support for Aero-Acoustics
  • Provided engineering support for experimental projects in various facilities, including water channels, subsonic and supersonic wind tunnels located at Fluid Mechanics Lab, Unitary Wind Tunnel, Arcjet, and Laser Induced Fluorescence (LIF) facilities and the NFAC.
  • Supported aero-acoustics measurements in wind tunnels and at outdoor rocket testing facilities.
  • Developed improvements to existing force and moment measurement systems, including wind tunnel balances.
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