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NASA aeronautics has made decades of contributions to aviation. Nearly every aircraft today has a NASA-supported technology on board that helps the vehicle fly more safely and efficiently. Aeronautics research continues to play a vital supporting role to air travel and commerce by enabling game-changing technologies and innovation that allows the U.S. aviation industry to continue to grow and maintain global competitiveness.

Aviation accounts for more than $1.3 trillion annually of total U.S. economic activity, and is one of the few industries that generate a positive trade balance: $47.1 billion in 2009 alone. The aviation industry supports more than 10 million direct and indirect jobs, including more than one million high-quality manufacturing jobs.

Just about every material product produced and purchased today has been touched by aviation in some way. Air transportation of freight valued at more than $1.6 trillion occurs every year. In 2011 U.S. airlines carried more than 725 million passengers for both domestic and international flights. Air travelers annually spend more than $635 billion on business and personal trips. In short, the U.S. aviation industry is critical to both economic and cultural well-being.

Aeronautics research at NASA is organized under the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, or ARMD. Four ARMD research programs all work to improve the nation's air transportation system. ARMD starts by asking the basic questions first—"How can we help make air travel safer and more efficient?” “What's the ‘cleanest, greenest' way to go?" “How can we innovate?” "How do we measure results?”

Collaborating with federal, industry and academic partners, ARMD is helping to create the Next Generation Air Transportation System, or NextGen. Such work is finding solutions for increasing the capacity, efficiency and flexibility of the national air space, and addressing substantial noise, emissions, efficiency, performance and safety challenges.

ARMD's aeronautics research takes place at four facilities: NASA Ames Research Center, NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, NASA Glenn Research Center and NASA Langley Research Center.

+ ARMD Strategic Implementation Plan new
+ NASA Aeronautics Strategic Vision [PDF]
+ NASA Green Aviation Fact Sheet [PDF]






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