Radical innovation is taking place in order to help our national
airspace meet future demands. The Next Generation Air Transportation
System, or NextGen, will make travel through increasingly crowded skies
more efficient and speedy while maintaining or increasing safety.
In NextGen, state-of-the-art networking technology will continually
update its data and share that information with pilots and controllers.
Aircraft will be able to immediately adjust to changing factors such as
weather, traffic congestion, positions of other aircraft, flight
trajectories and any terrestrial or airborne security concerns.
NASA's Aviation Safety Program (AvSP) helps to realize this new future's
full potential by examining the challenges that come with further
reducing risk in a complex, dynamic operating domain like NextGen.
Working with partners, AvSP provides fundamental research of already
existing safety challenges and on new and emerging challenges created by
the transition to NextGen -- significant increases in air traffic,
introduction of new vehicle concepts, continued operation of legacy
vehicles, increased reliance on automation, and increased operating
AvSP's top ten technical challenges are:
AvSP explores hardware and software systems that will operate in the
NextGen, including examining key challenges associated with verifying
and validating (V&V) that flight-critical systems will meet the
extremely high levels of safety required for NextGen operations. The
program seeks to provide increasing capabilities to predict and prevent
safety issues, to monitor for safety issues in-flight and lessen their
impact should they occur, to analyze and design safety issues out of
complex system behaviors, and to constantly analyze designs and
operational data for potential hazards. These technologies can be
leveraged to support safety in other complex systems such as NASA
long-duration missions in space science and exploration.
- Assurance of Flight Critical Systems
- Discovery of Precursors to Safety Incidents
- Assuring Safe Human-Systems Integration
- Prognostic Algorithm Design for Safety Assurance
- Improve Crew Decision-Making and Response in Complex Situations
- Maintain Vehicle Safety between Major Inspections
- Assure Safe and Effective Aircraft Control under Hazardous Conditions
- Engine Icing Characterization and Simulation Capability
- Airframe Icing Simulation and Engineering Tool Capability
- Atmospheric Hazard Sensing and Mitigation Technology Capability
AvSP includes three research projects:
- System-wide Safety Assurance Technologies (SSAT) Project: provides
knowledge, concepts and methods to proactively manage increasing
complexity in the design and operation of vehicles and air
transportation systems, including advanced approaches to enable improved
and cost-effective verification and validation of flight-critical
systems. For questions about SSAT, contact Jessica Nowinski.
- Vehicle Systems Safety Technologies (VSST) Project: provides
knowledge, concepts and methods to avoid, detect, mitigate and recover
from hazardous flight conditions, and to maintain vehicle airworthiness
and health. For questions about VSST, contact Paul Krasa.
- Atmospheric Environment Safety Technologies (AEST) Project:
investigates sources of risk and provides technology needed to help
ensure safe flight in and around atmospheric hazards. For questions about AEST, contact Renato Colantonio.
Aviation Safety in the News
+ Playing with Lightning in the Name of Aircraft Safety
+ AirSTAR: For the Sake of Pilots and Passengers
+ NASA - Aviation Safety Analyst Flies with Blue Angels
+ Aviation Safety Program Fact Sheet [PDF] Updated
"Solving Aviation's Challenges Through NASA Innovation" KSC Briefing
As part of the "What's Next for NASA?" briefings leading up to the final
shuttle launch, on July 6, 2011, Ed Waggoner, Integrated Systems
Research program director, and John Cavolowsky, Airspace Systems program
director, briefed the media on NASA's aeronautics research and how it
will benefit the public.
+ View Video
DASHlink Online Community for Researchers
DASHlink is a web-based virtual community where scientists and engineers
can post and share results, algorithms and ideas involving the latest
research topics in health management technologies for aeronautics
systems. DASHlink can be viewed by the public and is a resource for
anyone interested in data mining, vehicle health systems, aeronautics
+ Visit Site
Aviation Safety Program and Project Plans (coming soon)
For questions regarding specific elements of the Aviation Safety
Program, please contact: Doug Rohn, Program Director.