NASA accomplished four extremely successful Space Shuttle missions in FY 2000. STS-103 serviced the Hubble Space Telescope with three Extravehicular Activities (EVA) to renew and refurbish the Telescope. In addition to replacing all six gyroscopes, the crew also installed a refurbished Fine Guidance Sensor, a new spacecraft computer, a Voltage/Temperature Improvement Kit to protect spacecraft batteries from overcharging and overheating, and a new S-Band Single Access Transmitter. The crew also replaced the degraded outer telescope insulation with the New Outer Blanket and Shell/Shield Replacement Fabric. STS-103 carried several hundred thousand student signatures as part of a student outreach program. This mission was launched on December 19, 1999, and landed on December 27, 1999.
STS-99 was the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), as part of an international project spearheaded by the National Imagery and Mapping Agency and NASA, with participation from the German Aerospace Center and the Italian Space Agency. SRTM consisted of a modified radar system that flew onboard the Space Shuttle during the 11-day mission. SRTM used C-band and X-band interferometric synthetic aperture radars to acquire topographic data of Earths land mass between 60 degrees north latitude and 54 degrees south latitude. The Shuttles radar covered 99.98 percent of the planned mapping area at least once. Besides contributing to the production of better maps, the SRTM measurements could lead to improved water drainage modeling, more realistic flight simulators, better locations for cell towers, and enhanced navigation safety. The STS-99 mission was launched on February 11, 2000, and landed on February 22, 2000.
STS-101 delivered supplies to the International Space Station that included water, a docking mechanism accessory kit, film and videotape for documentation, office supplies, personal items, exercise equipment, medical support supplies, and a passive dosimetry system. Flight objectives included ISS ingress/egress to take air samples, monitor carbon dioxide, measure air flow, rework/modify ISS ducting, replace air filters, and replace emergency and power equipment. The crew also assembled the Strela crane, conducted a spacewalk to install exterior handrails, and set up the centerline camera cable. Assembled parts, tools, and equipment for future missions were also transferred to the ISS. Atlantis steering jets were fired in a series of three maneuvers to boost the Stations orbital altitude by 27 miles. This mission inaugurated the Atlantis new Multifunction Electronic Display Subsystem known as the glass cockpit. This mission was launched on May 19, 2000, and landed on May 29, 2000.
STS-106 was International Space Station (ISS) assembly flight ISS-2A.2b and utilized the SPACEHAB Double Module and the Integrated Cargo Carrier to bring supplies to the Station. The main goal of this flight was to prepare Russian-built ISS Service Module (SM) Zvezda (Star) for the arrival of the first resident, or Expedition crew, in late 2000. Supplies transferred included clothing, medical kits, personal hygiene kits, laptop computers and a printer, household items, and critical life-support hardware such as an Elektron oxygen generation unit and a Vozdukh carbon dioxide removal unit. Major items unloaded from SPACEHAB included medical equipment for the ISS Crew Health Care System, which will serve as the heart of the Stations clinic for orbiting crews. Spacewalk activities included the hookup of electrical, communications, and telemetry cables between Zvezda and the Zarya Control Module.
In addition, NASA personnel worked with their colleagues in the Russian Aviation and Space Agency to support their launch of Zvezda, a Progress resupply ship, and to prepare for the first ISS Expedition crew launch in October 2000.
After the successful launch and mating of the first two ISS elements (Functional Cargo Block [FGB] Zarya or Dawn and Node 1 Unity) and the first logistics resupply mission to the ISS (2A.1/STS-96) in FY 1999, the ISS was further enlarged in FY 2000 and readied for the launch of the first permanent crew.
The third construction element of the ISS, the Russian-built Service Module (SM) Zvezda (Star) had originally been scheduled for launch in 1998. After several delays, this launch was postponed until summer 2000, causing NASA to take measures to prolong the life of the orbiting FGB module beyond its original service certification. This was done by splitting the next Shuttle ISS logistics mission (2A.2) into two flights. The first of these missions, 2A.2a, was remanifested to perform FGB lifetime and maintenance tasks before SM arrival. The second, 2A.2b, was flown after delivery of the SM to perform SM outfitting for the Expedition One crew arrival. Thus, after a 2-year hiatus, FY 2000 was the year NASA returned to the business of assembling the ISS.
On May 19, 2000, NASA launched STS-101 (flight 2A.2a) to ferry supplies required by the Expedition One crew, as well as to replace electronics in the Russian-built Zarya module. This flight extended Zaryas service life through December 2000, accommodating the SM schedule slip from November 1999 to July 2000. The SM provides propulsion capability, living quarters, and life support for the early ISS crews. With the successful SM launch on July 11 (flight 1R), the floodgate opened, and assembly and further resupply missions followed at a rapid pace. The SM docked with the orbiting ISS on schedule 2 weeks later (July 25, 2000), followed by the first Russian progress resupply mission (flight 1P) on August 6, 2000. Next, the STS-106 (flight 2A.2b) launched on September 6, delivered supplies, and outfitted the SM in preparation for the assembly mission STS-92 (flight 3A), with the Z1 Truss and PMA-3 (Pressurized Mating Adapter) on October 5, 2000.
While the ISS Program was returning to the task of ISS assembly, NASAs ground teams spent much of FY 2000 preparing for future assembly missions. NASA significantly reduced the amount of program risk by completing the first Multi-Element Integration Test (MEIT-1) early in 2000. MEIT-1 testing included ISS Flights 3A-6A (early truss segments, multipurpose logistics modules, initial power array, the U.S. Laboratory (Destiny), and the Canadian robotic arm, and verified element-to-element and element-to-orbiter interfaces). The MEIT-1 ground team completed the soft mate of power, avionics, and fluid connections with flight connectors or jumpers. The ground team systems tests included command and data handling, communications and tracking, electrical power system, thermal control system, and guidance, navigation, and control testing. End-to-end testing and mission sequence testing were completed in March, and critical U.S. Lab software-to-software and hardware-to-software interfaces were verified as well.
With MEIT-1 complete, MEIT-2 was able to begin on schedule in September 2000. Like MEIT-1, this test was being performed as close to the in-flight configuration as possible, with actual hardware and software response. It includes mission control-to-ISS interfaces, allowing engineers to validate operational flight plans and procedures. The test will include the mobile transporter, a movable base of the Stations Canadian mechanical arm that allows it to travel along the Station truss.
At the end of FY 2000, all major ISS elements through the end of Phase II, including the U.S. Laboratory and the U.S. Airlock had been delivered to NASAs Kennedy Space Center, as well as the truss segments and solar arrays through flight 12A. Of the projected 391,000 pounds of U.S. ISS hardware, 275,000 pounds (70 percent) had been delivered to the Kennedy Space Center or placed in orbit by the end of the fiscal year.
The Crew Return Vehicle (CRV) project continued its atmospheric vehicle and parafoil flight testing with a high success rate. The first of two 80-percent scale atmospheric vehicles was modified to match the expected production vehicle body shape and completed a captive carry test attached to the wing of a B-52 in early August. In September 2000, the full-scale parafoil completed its fourth flight test. Production of the operational CRVs was expected to begin in 2002 with delivery onorbit of the first CRV in early 2006.
The ISS research program also made tremendous progress during FY 2000. By the end of the fiscal year, the Human Research Facility and two EXPRESS Racks, with subrack payloads, had been delivered to Kennedy Space Center and were in final integration and test in preparation for launch on ISS flights 5A.1 and 6A. The third and fourth EXPRESS Racks completed final fabrication and assembly and are preparing for delivery to Kennedy Space Center in early FY 2001 for launch on 7A.1. The first three payloads were delivered to the ISS to begin on-orbit operations in late FY 2000. Crew training continued for the first four increments, and the payload operations support capabilities were delivered and tested in preparation to support payload operations beginning in FY 2001.
In addition, the first two commercial (reimbursable) agreements were negotiated and signed with Dreamtime Holdings, Inc., and SkyCorp, Inc. These two commercial (reimbursable) payloads were targeted for delivery to the ISS during FY 2001.
The primary goal of the Space Shuttle Safety Upgrade Program continued to be the improvement of crew flight safety and situational awareness, protect people both during flight and on the ground, and increase the overall reliability of the Shuttle system. To continue the accomplishment of this goal during FY 2000, NASA continued working on improving existing Space Shuttle operational mission assurance and reliability through several safety and supportability upgrade initiatives. To improve Shuttle safety, an effort was initiated to proactively upgrade the Shuttle elements and keep it flying safely and efficiently through FY 2012 and beyond to meet Agency commitments and goals for human access to space. The upgrades with the most benefit in decreasing Shuttle risk are the Electric Auxiliary Power Unit (EAPU), the Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) Thrust Vector Control/ Auxiliary Power Unit (SRB/APU), and the Advanced Health Management System (AHMS). A project to provide a Cockpit Avionics Upgrade (CAU) was also approved for program formulation to improve crew workload and situational awareness and provide an enhanced caution and warning system. During FY 2000, significant project formulation activities occurred for these four major upgrade projects. Conceptual planning and project formulation was also performed for several smaller upgrade projects to improve not only safety but supportability.
NASA began the Human Exploration and Development of Space (HEDS) Technology/ Commercialization Initiative (HTCI) to support future decisions by developing and validating highly innovative new technologies that make possible future revolutionary new systems and infrastructures of value to both human exploration and the commercial development of space. During FY 2000, NASA engaged a Nationwide team of innovators in the formulation of the HTCI, including over 100 participants in two workshops as well as numerous derivative working meetings. A broad framework for planning was defined that involved six major themes: space resources development; space utilities and power; habitation and bioastronautics; space assembly, inspection, and maintenance; exploration and expeditions; and space transportation. Within each of these themes, a range of focused technology elements were identified and prioritized, allowing a full assessment of NASAs ongoing programs in terms of how they support future human/robotic exploration and development of space. FY 2000 program formulation activities culminated in the definition of a program implementation plan, including an innovative competitive solicitation strategy to be implemented, beginning in FY 2001.
In summer of 2000, a new HEDS Strategic Plan was published, and for the first time in many years, NASA described plans to develop capabilities that will carry humans beyond low-Earth orbit. The new plan communicates the HEDS mission, challenges, strategic goals, and strategic roadmap with time-phased objectives for longer stays and more distant locations. In addition, the Strategic Plan carefully and successfully balanced current political realities dealing with a major human exploration effort with pursuing technology advances that will benefit the commercial space industry and NASAs Enterprises.
During FY 2000, the NASA Exploration Team studied various mission approaches for expanding human presence beyond low-Earth orbit. Each of these mission studies, referred to as an architecture, provides descriptive information of the overall exploration theme and its derivation from and links to driving national needs, including those articulated in the HEDS Strategic Plan. Example mission architectures to the Moon, Sun-Earth Libration Points, Near-Earth Asteroids, and Mars were developed during the study. The focus of the FY 2000 architectures was to determine the existence of common capabilities and core technologies between destinations. Specific key technologies and their resulting architectural benefits were identified in the areas of crew health and performance, advanced space transportation, advanced space power, advanced information, and operations. In addition, the capabilities of the Intelligent Synthesis Environment (ISE) HEDS Exploration Large-Scale Application were used by the design team to improve the speed and quality of the overall study results. Key system and strategic improvements to the ISE capabilities that can improve the exploration architecture study process were identified.
The first HEDS payload designed for operation on the Martian surface was completed in FY 2000. The Mars In situ propellant-production Precursor (MIP) Flight Demonstration payload successfully completed all acceptance tests and was certified ready for flight. MIPs principal objective is to demonstrate the production of pure, propellant-grade oxygen using Martian atmospheric carbon dioxide as feedstock in a robust, efficient chemical process. With NASAs cancellation of the Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander, MIP has been placed indefinitely into environmentally controlled storage at the NASAJohnson Space Center.
There were 22 U.S. Expendable Launch Vehicle launches in FY 2000. Five of the 22 launches were NASA-managed missions, 9 were Department of Defense (DoD)-managed missions, and 8 were FAA-licensed commercial launches. In addition, NASA flew one payload as a secondary payload on one of the FAA-licensed commercial launches. This year, two new launch vehicles debuted: the Lockheed-Martin Atlas IIIA and the Boeing Delta III, each serving as transition vehicles leading the way for the new generation of Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle family of vehicles.
In June 2000, the NASA Launch Services (NLS) contracts were awarded to Boeing and Lockheed Martin to enable access to space on the Nations current and future Atlas and Delta launch services. These contracts include onramps for new launch vehicle providers as they become flight demonstrated and will be key contracts to address NASA launch requirements for the next decade. NASA also initiated a study to assess domestic alternatives for resupply and contingency missions to the ISS, to augment current international launch commitments and the Space Shuttle. The results of the industry studies are being used to formulate Agency strategy for assuring access to space for the ISS throughout its on-orbit life.
In the area of space communications, NASAs Space, Deep Space, and Ground networks successfully supported all NASA flight missions and numerous commercial, foreign, and other Government agency missions. Included were the launch of ISS hardware (including the Russian Service Module), NASAs Terra Earth Observation mission, GOES-L, planetary encounters, and the Galileo spacecrafts encounters of Jupiters moons. The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-H (TDRS-H) was also successfully launched, and checkout was initiated. The networks provided data delivery for all customers in excess of 98 percent.
The Consolidated Space Operations Contract (CSOC) completed its 21st month of a 5-year basic period of performance. Operations support continued at Johnson Space Center, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Goddard Space Flight Center, Marshall Space Flight Center, and Kennedy Space Center. Customer operations are meeting, and often exceeding, contractual expectations.
The Space Operations Management Office (SOMO)/CSOC commercialization program made significant progress in avoiding costs by outsourcing space communications data services to commercial providers. DataLynx, Universal Space Network, and Konsburg-Lockheed Martin were put under contract to provide data. The proportion of commercial Earth stations that support NASA missions rose to 33 percent. These service providers are making investments to establish the network, a cost that NASA avoids. Additionally, an Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contract relationship was established with 14 commercial firms qualified to provide both mission and data services.
Other significant activities included the automation of the orbit determination function for most Space Network missions, implementation of an X-Band uplink capability for the 70-meter antennas at Goldstone and Canberra, completion of the Mars communications infrastructure Phase A study, demonstration of the Low-Power Transceiver, initiation of the Ka-Band Transition project for the Space Network and Ground Network, completion of the White Sands Complex Alternate Resource Terminal, and preparations for the launch of TDRS-I and TDRS-J.
Finally, the development of a strategic and visionary architecture to support future Agency communication and navigation needs was initiated. An Agency-wide team was formed to investigate the architecture to address the evolution and unification of the Space, Ground, Deep Space, and Wide Area Networks.
In FY 2000, NASA continued its commitment to safety for the public, astronauts and pilots, the NASA workforce, and high-value equipment and property. NASA met its FY 2000 safety goal of 0.30 lost time incidents per 200,000 workhours. The NASA Centers conducted their annual occupational safety and health program performance evaluation assessments, which included a baseline performance assessment for system safety. The NASA Centers used the results of these assessments to develop plans for additional improvement in NASA safety programs. Several additional Centers announced their intent to pursue Star certification, using the Department of Labors Voluntary Protection Program guidelines. NASA safety and mission assurance experts stepped up activities to support the increased flight rate of the Space Shuttle and the construction and permanent human habitation of the ISS, conducting the necessary assurance functions and providing independent evaluation of flight readiness. In addition, NASA experts assessed safety and likelihood of success for Expendable Launch Vehicle missions, safety of aviation operations, impact of orbital debris, and safety and mission assurance considerations in operations and engineering processes. NASA initiated a new Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) review process for spacecraft launches, the Integrated Mission Assurance Review. Also, NASA made safety and risk management a compelling priority and an expectation in the acquisition process through changes to the NASA Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement and an aggressive training effort. All NASA sites were certified under ISO 9001 in FY 1999. In FY 2000, NASA passed the required audits for maintaining its ISO 9001 certification.
FY 2000 did not begin well for NASAs Space Science Enterprise. In December 1999, NASA had to declare the Mars Polar Lander/Deep Space 2 mission a failure, only a few months after the loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter in September. The failures were a great disappointment to NASA scientifically, and they also served as a wake-up call to take a long, hard look at its Mars Program. As part of this assessment, NASA convened several teams of experts to look at the Mars program from top to bottom. The result was that by the end of the fiscal year, NASA had unveiled a new and scientifically robust program for future Mars exploration.
Despite the two Mars failures, the Space Science Enterprise had many successes, and its programs delivered a wealth of compelling science, including Mars science. The Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) delivered a landmark discovery in the history of planetary exploration: scientists using imaging data from MGS observed features that suggest there may be current sources of water at or near the surface of the red planet. The images show the smallest features ever observed from Martian orbit, approximately the size of a sports utility vehicle. NASA scientists compared these features to those left by flash floods here on Earth.
Findings from the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission confirmed that asteroid 433 Eros is a consolidated, primitive sample from the solar systems beginnings: an undifferentiated asteroid with homogeneous structure, that never separated into a distinct crust, mantle, and core. NEAR is the first indepth study of an asteroid. Since entering Eros orbit on February 14, 2000, the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft has taken more than 100,000 images and extensive measurements of Eros composition, structure, and landforms, at distances ranging from 22 to 220 miles (35 to 350 kilometers).
The Chandra X-Ray Observatory, launched in July 1999, has delivered a wealth of science in its relatively short history. One Chandra highlight is that it recently resolved a 37-year old mystery: the origin of the diffuse x-ray background. The diffuse x-ray background was originally discovered by the first x-ray rocket flight in 1967. The whole sky glows bright in x-rays, but until FY 2000, scientists had lacked the sharp imaging power to see if the glow is all due to unresolved individual point sources. Scientists now know that the glow is made up of discrete, individually distinct sources. These faraway sources include quasars, galaxies, and some mystery objects. The mystery objects shine brightly in x-rays but fail to show up as counterparts in optical light. Therefore, at the end of the fiscal year, NASA space scientists had no idea yet as to their nature or distance, except that they are point-like sources of x-radiation.
During FY 2000, scientists gathered data from a variety of sources to prove that long-suspected theory that the universe is flat and accelerating. Combining results from ground-based astronomy, the Hubble Space Telescope, and infrared observations from the Balloon Observations for Millimetric Extragalactic Radiation and Geomagnetics (BOOMERANG) balloon flight, scientists confirmed that the inflationary scenario of Big Bang cosmology is correct and that space is accelerating, implying a new phenomenon in nature called dark energy. A weeks advance warning of potential bad weather in space is now possible thanks to the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft. With a technique that uses ripples on the Suns visible surface to probe its interior, SOHO scientists have, for the first time, imaged solar storm regions on the far side of the Sun, the side facing away from Earth. Understanding solar variability is becoming an increasingly important topic both to researchers and to the public.
NASAs Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE) mission delivered more important news about our Sun. Giant fountains of fast-moving, multimillion degree gas in the outermost atmosphere of the Sun revealed an important clue to a long standing mysterythe heating source that makes the corona 300 times hotter than the Suns visible surface. TRACE captured dramatic images of the immense coils of hot, electrified gas, known as coronal loops. A 30-year old theory assumed that the loops are heated evenly throughout their height. The TRACE observations show that instead, most of the heating must occur at the bases of the coronal loops, near where they emerge from and return to the solar surface.
In Origins news, planet-hunting astronomers crossed an important threshold in planet detection with the discovery of two planets that may be smaller in mass than Saturn. Of the 30 extra-solar planets around Sun-like stars detected previously, all have been the size of Jupiter or larger. The existence of these Saturn-sized candidates suggests that many stars harbor smaller planets, in addition to the Jupiter-sized ones.
Finding Saturn-sized planets reinforces the theory that planets form by a snowball effect of growth from small ones to large, in a star-encircling dust disk. The 20-year-old theory predicts there should be more smaller planets than large planets, and this is a trend the researchers have begun to see in their data.
In December 1999, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) got its third visit from a Space Shuttle. The crew of Discovery installed new gyroscopes and a new computer and performed a host of other upgrades. The result was that HST is now more powerful and robust than at any other time in its 10-year history. It has continued to deliver the profound science and amazing images that we have come to expect from the most famous space-based observatory in history.
There were many other space science highlights during FY 2000. The Space Science Enterprise unveiled the details of two exciting new programs, the aforementioned New Mars Program and Living With a Star, a comprehensive program to learn more about our Sun and its effects on Earth. These new initiatives, together with our existing research and exploration programs, bode well for a continuation of exciting and ground-breaking new space science discoveries as we enter the new millennium.
The Aerospace Technology Enterprise continued to pioneer the identification, development, verification, transfer, application, and commercialization of high-payoff aeronautics and space transportation technologies, and plays a key role in maintaining a safe and efficient national aviation system and an affordable, reliable space transportation system. The Enterprise addressed 10 overarching objectives in aviation, space transportation, and technology innovation through a wide range of programs. This summary covers a small sample of significant accomplishments that will lead to improved aviation safety, increased air system capacity, reduced environmental impact from aviation operations, new technology innovations, and significant strides that were made toward achieving affordable space access for the Nation.
In aviation safety, a major flight demonstration of technologies for preventing runway incursions was held at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. NASAs Boeing 757 research aircraft was a testbed for auditory alerts and sophisticated cockpit visual displays (e.g., electronic moving maps to show real-time aircraft location on the airport runways, and head-up displays with enhanced runway information and runway incursion alerts) to improve pilot situational awareness. The integrated set of tools proved highly effective and will contribute to the safety of future generations of aircraft.
NASA has continued an intensive research program to mitigate the effects of icing on aviation safety. An interactive training program on CD-ROM has been developed for pilots of commuter and general aviation aircraft as a result of NASA icing research. Three of seven modules have been completed, teaching pilots the factors involved in aircraft icing and how to handle icing situations to avoid deadly accidents. The program has been well received by pilots. The remaining modules are expected by June 2001. In addition, NASA has also published a report entitled Ice Accretions and Icing Effects for Modern Airfoils. Prior to this effort, the NACA four-digit series airfoil sections, created in the 1950s, served as the state-of-the-art. This report has significantly advanced the state-of-the-art in aircraft icing-prediction tools by providing a broad base of information about ice accretions and the resulting effects on aerodynamic performance for airfoils being designed and used on todays aircraft. The report documents ice accretions formed over a wide range of aircraft icing conditions and resulting aerodynamic performance degradation for airfoils as represented in three classes of aircraftcommercial transport, business jet, and general aviation. It provides a database for development of ice accretion and aerodynamic performance codes for use in the development and application of ice-protection systems and the process of certifying aircraft for flight in icing conditions. NASA also has completed the concept design for a new ice management system to improve safety of aircraft operating in icing conditions and to advance state-of-the-art, in-flight deck information management and decision-making of onboard, in-flight icing operations. This will increase aviation safety by enabling the aircraft to identify hazardous icing conditions, manage and operate onboard ice protection systems, and provide flight crew near-real-time information on level of hazard to manage the icing encounter.
NASA also continued developing the technologies that will provide complete weather information and situational awareness to pilots and ground operators of any atmospheric condition that affects the operation and safety of an aircraft. In FY 2000, NASA flight tests demonstrated commercially ready graphical weather display systems that will now enter inservice evaluations with multiple airlines.
NASA also developed and documented a theoretical methodology for predicting error-vulnerability in design of human-automation systems. In particular, it focuses attention on the problem of ambiguities associated with pilot interaction with cockpit automation. Such ambiguities, which directly lead to so-called automation surprises, are documented in many pilot incident reports. This report helped to define the precise connection between a machines behavior, the task specification, the required user interface, and the user-model for ensuring correct and unambiguous interaction between a user and a machine.
In aviation system capacity, low-visibility conditions cause delays of at least 15 minutes for 180,000 flights annually in the United States, while delays in excess of 15 minutes affect an additional 120,000 flights annually. Costs associated with these delays are estimated in excess of $3 billion. A major accomplishment for capacity research was the transfer to the FAA of three decision support tools for aircraft arrival and surface operations. The FAA is deploying the NASA-developed Passive Final Approach Spacing Tool, Traffic Management Advisor, and Surface Movement Advisor to key sites in the national airspace system as part of its next-generation air traffic management system. Airports with the tools in place have already shown improvements in the capacity of their extended terminal areas.
A second accomplishment in aviation system capacity was the completion of the Terminal Area Productivity (TAP) project, which developed ground and airborne technologies to reduce lateral and in-trail space separations for landing. The goal is to safely maintain good weather operating capacity during bad weather and low-visibility conditions. Several NASA technologies and operational concepts were field-demonstrated at the Dallas-Fort Worth and Atlanta Hartsfield airports. Together, the elements of TAP demonstrated throughput increases of up to 17 percent over current nonvisual operations for a single runway, the ability to land with only 2,500 feet of parallel runway separation even though current rules require a lateral spacing of 4,300 feet, and guidance, control, and situation awareness systems to reduce runway congestion while meeting FAA guidelines for safety.
In FY 2000, NASA completed the development of FutureFlight Central which is a world-class research facility dedicated to addressing the future needs of the Nations airports. This facility will allow researchers to examine ways to increase the flow of aircraft through the national airspace system safely, efficiently, and under all weather conditions, and will permit integration of tomorrows technologies in a risk-free simulation of any airport, airfield, and tower-cab environment. The three-dimensional visual model of an airport is viewed from the 360-degree windows of the tower cab. Up to 12 air traffic controllers in the tower cab interact in the live-action simulation through a simulated radio and telephone system with pilots and ramp controllers. The imaging system, powered by supercomputers, provides a realistic view of weather conditions, environmental and seasonal effects, and the movement of up to 200 active aircraft and ground vehicles.
NASA researchers continued their efforts to mitigate both the local and global environmental impacts of aviation operations. Building on the accomplishments of the past years, they have made significant advances in the reduction of aircraft noise and emissions. Last year, NASA successfully tested in laboratory flametube experiments, three fuel injector concepts that achieved NOx (nitrogen oxide) reductions of greater than 75 perfect. In addition, NASA developed an innovative compressor flow-control concept. It was developed by selecting an inverse design technique for optimum blade shape and shock placement and by managing the flow between the blade tips and endwall (inner compressor liner) with the proper matching of highly loaded stages. Application of these techniques is reducing overall losses and enabling higher efficiency at higher aerodynamic loading on the compressor blades. These techniques could lead to compressor designs with fewer stages and a system that is lighter weight, thus attaining revolutionary gains in compressor performance. It is expected that these design methodologies will result in attaining the goals of reducing CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions and increasing efficiency of advanced aircraft engines. NASA also demonstrated smart turbomachinery concepts that have the potential to minimize pollutants throughout mission cycle by actively suppressing thermoacoustic-driven pressure oscillations. Successful development of this technology will enable lean combustors that will result in the reduction of NOx and CO2 throughout the mission cycle.
NASA also made significant strides toward its goals of confining aircraft noise within airport boundaries. Over the past several years, NASA has identified the sources of aircraft related noise and developed technologies to mitigate their effect. Last year, NASA conducted a systems analysis that indicated a 7 decibel (dB), with the potential of up to 9 dB, noise reduction from NASA-developed component technologies for large subsonic transport aircraft. These include a reduction of community noise of 3 to 7 dB, depending on aircraft suitability from engine cycle changes; 3 dB reduction from fan and stator geometry optimization; 3 dB from advanced low-noise engine nozzles; 2 to 3 dB reduction from engine inlet shape; 1 dB from active engine noise control; 4 dB from improved design of flap, slat, and landing gear systems; and 2 dB from advanced operations. Similar advances have been made for rotorcraft. The use of higher harmonic control, coupled with a low-noise approach, resulted in a 16.5 dB reduction of peak blade vortex interaction noise. NASA also demonstrated an active-control technology that achieved a 23 dB reduction in rotorcraft interior noise.
In the area of technology innovation, NASA completed the low-altitude testing of a solar-powered, Remotely Piloted Vehicle (RPV) aircraft that is designed to fly to 100,000 feet in altitude or have a flight duration of 100 hours once outfitted with high-performance solar cells. NASA also successfully demonstrated continous over-the-horizon control of a remotely piloted aircraft outside of controlled airspace using commercial satellite networks. The aircraft flew a series of direct commands from the ground station as well as a series of way point sets. On one demonstration, the ground controller sent up a simulated search pattern while the aircraft was over 200 nautical miles (nm) from base, and the aircraft tracked the pattern perfectly. The flexibility of the system was demonstrated when air traffic control directed a change from its planned altitude of 45,000 feet to 44,000 feet. The ground controller quickly uploaded a descent command to bring the aircraft to the new altitude.
NASA also developed and validated an apparatus for large scale rotor testing in the National Full-size Aerodynamics Complex 80x120 wind tunnel at NASA Ames Research Center. This apparatus provides a unique national capability to test both helicopters and tiltrotors up to 50,000 pounds (lbs) thrust and 6,000 horsepower.
NASAs cooperative efforts to develop advanced engine technology to revitalize general aviation continued in FY 2000. Based on significant technical progress with the NASA-developed General Aviation Propulsion turbine engine, Eclipse, a new aircraft company, announced that it will utilize a derivative of this engine for the Eclipse 500 aircraft.
In the area of space transportation, thermal protection materials may radically change the design and performance of future aerospace vehicles, overturning the conventional wisdom that only blunt-body aerospace vehicles can survive the searing temperatures of reentry into Earths atmosphere. The Slender Hypervelocity Aerothermodynamic Research Probes second ballistc flight test successfully demonstrated performance of 1-millimeter (mm) radius, ultra-high temperature ceramic tiles with leading edges at speeds greater than Mach 22 and at altitudes greater than 43 kilometers (km). The use of sharp leading edges on hypersonic vehicles has the potential to increase spacecraft maneuverability (more like an airplane), eliminate the electromagnetic interference that causes the communications blackouts on reentry, and reduce propulsion requirements due to lowered drag.
Between April and August 2000, a 10-kilowatt (kw) Hall effect thruster, designated T-220, was subjected to a 1,000-hour life test evaluation. Hall effect thrusters are propulsion devices that electrostatically accelerate xenon ions to produce thrust. Hall effect propulsion has been in development for many years, and low-power devices (1.35 kw) have been used in space for satellite orbit maintenance. The T-220 produces sufficient thrust to enable efficient orbital transfers, saving hundreds of kilograms in propellant over conventional chemical propulsion systems. This test is the longest operation ever achieved on a high-power Hall thruster (greater that 4.5 kw) and is a key milestone leading to the use of this technology for future NASA, commercial, and military missions.
Another accomplishment in space transportation was the completion of 14 single-engine hot fire tests of the X-33 programs Linear Aerospike Engine. The unusual design allows the engine to be more efficient and effective than todays rocket engines.
NASA also completed NASA Solar electric propulsion Technology Application Readiness (NSTAR) ground testing of the sister engine used for the Deep Space-1 (DS-1) mission. The goal of demonstrating 100 percent of the engine design life was achieved on May 9, 2000, after the engine had accumulated 10,375 hours of operation. Approximately half of the 10,375 hours were intentionally spent at a throttle level corresponding to two-thirds of full power. Prior to the NSTAR project and over a timespan of more than 30 years, no ion engine to be used for primary propulsion had ever been successfully operated for more than a small fraction of its design life. The success of these tests, together with the success of the flight test on DS-1, has now made ion propulsion a legitimate option for deep space solar system exploration missions.
NASAs Earth Science Enterprise (ESE) continued to seek to understand the Earth system and the effects of natural and human-induced changes on the global environment. ESE continued to exploit the vantage point of space to conduct research on global and regional scale changes in the interactions among the atmosphere, land, oceans, ice, and life that comprise the Earths system. Together with its partners, ESE provides a sound, scientific basis for economic investment and environmental policy decisions in both the public and private sectors. ESEs three goals in this period were to expand scientific knowledge about the Earth system, to disseminate knowledge about the Earth system, and to enable the productive use of ESE science and technology in the public and private sectors.
In December 1999, ESE launched the Terra satellitethe flagship mission of the Earth Observing System. Terra is the first satellite to monitor daily, simultaneously and on a global scale, the Earths biosphere, cloud cover, atmospheric aerosols, land surface, and response to solar radiation. This approach enables scientists to study the interactions among these major Earth system components that determine the cycling of water and nutrients on Earth. One product is near-daily measurements of photosynthetic processes on the Earths surface (both land and oceans) from which calculations of carbon uptake are made. Terras instruments were activated for science operations in February 2000 and continued to operate normally. Data from Terra are publicly available from Goddard Space Flight Centers Distributed Active Archive Center.
Using the Landsat 7 satellite launched in 1999, ESE and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) completed the first update of the global maps of 30-meter resolution land cover data. Researchers undertook a variety of land cover studies around the world with these data, and practical application of these same data are being made in agriculture and forest management. NASA supplied both Landsat and Terra data to the U.S. Forest Service and regional authorities combating the large-scale fires that swept the Los Alamos region of New Mexico and the areas spanning the border of Montana and Idaho in the Northwest in 2000. In addition, USGS scientists used Landsat 7 data to provide a synoptic view of the landscape simultaneously with the outbreak of infectious diseasesmost recently in the outbreak of the West Nile Virus in New York City during the summer of 2000.
The QuikSCAT satellite, also launched in 1999, began providing 25-kilometer resolution data on ocean surface winds. NASA provided these data to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in near real time, and researchers continued to employ these data to improve marine weather forecasting. The Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) with Japan completed its nominal 3-year mission to provide the first measurements of global rainfall over the tropics. NASA managers extended the lifetime of TRMM to support additional research. Combining data from QuikSCAT and TRMM, researchers began experimenting with the capability to dramatically improve hurricane landfall prediction.
The balance of Earth Observing System satellites such as Aqua, Jason, ICEsat, and Aura proceeded in development in FY 2000 for launch in 20012003. In addition, a series of small, focused research satellites, which will provide the first precise measurements of the Earths geoid, continued in development.
In February 2000, NASA flew the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission to produce the first intererometric synthentic aperture radar data set from space. The SRTM mission, cosponsored by the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, collected topographic data on the entire land surface of the Earth between 60°N and 56°S. These data will have a wide variety of applications in hydrology, flood plain mapping, civil engineering, and aviation safety. Germany and Italy contributed the experimental X-band radar system for the mission.
In addition to its satellite observations, NASA continued to operate research aircraft for in situ and remote sensing of the atmosphere and land surface. In some cases, these aircraft are operated in tandem with satellites in integrated research campaigns. In 2000, NASA flew its ER-2 aircraft into the North polar stratosphere to explore the processes of ozone destruction over the Arctic. Antarctic ozone processes are well understood; now for the first time, researchers have similar data for the Arctic. In fall 2000, NASA led an international campaign, Southern African Regional Science Initiative (SAFARI) 2000, to explore the interactions of land and atmosphere in southern Africa. This campaign mapped the appearance and transport of aerosols in the atmosphere resulting from large-scale fires on the ground.
Three major airborne scientific campaigns for research and validation of satellite measurements were carried out during FY 2000. The Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) III Ozone Loss and Validation Experiment (SOLVE) campaign was conducted from December 1999 to March 2000. SOLVE was a field measurement campaign using NASAs ER-2 and DC-8 research aircraft, high altitude balloons, and ground-based instruments to examine the processes that control polar to midlatitude stratospheric ozone levels. The campaign included cooperation with Canada, Germany, Japan, Sweden, and Russia. The SAFARI 2000 effort included ground-based and airborne field campaigns in southern African nations, including Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The objective of the campaign was to identify and understand the relationships between the physical, chemical, biological, and anthropogenic processes that underlie the land and atmospheric systems of southern Africa. Researchers made measurements during the wet season (FebruaryMarch 2000) to identify and quantify major sources of emissions and ecosystem processes during peak biomass. The dry-season episode of the campaign (AugustSeptember 2000) tracked the movement, transformations, and fallout of dry-season emissions from biomass burning. Finally, NASAs DC-8 aircraft carrying the NASA airborne synthetic aperture radar (AIRSAR) instrument, the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer and Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer MODIS/ASTER (MASTER) simulator, and other instrumentation flew from August to October 2000 in the Pacific Rim. This campaign, called PacRim II, involved extensive data collections over 18 countries, with NASAs aircraft operating out of American Samoa, Australia, French Polynesia, Guam, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, and Singapore before returning to the United States. The objective was to further advance Earth science research and applications in all the countries involved, specifically in the areas of agriculture, coastal processes, geology and tectonics, disaster management, forestry and vegetation, urban and regional development, and continued cooperation in Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data and interferometry research. Topographic mapping, forest canopy analysis and mapping, volcano and tectonic research, geological research, and archaeology were all made possible with the data collected during the PacRim II campaign.
Together with the Canadian Space Agency, ESE initiated the second Antarctic Mapping Mission using the Radarsat-1 spacecraft to produce radar topographic maps of the south polar ice sheet. Researchers planned to compare these data with those from the first Antarctic Mapping Mission in 1997 to establish rates of change in diverse portions of Antarctica.
Regarding knowledge dissemination, ESE distributed 8.8 million data products in response to 1.5 million requests during the fiscal year. More than distributing data, however, NASA continued to try to ensure that these data are used broadly to improve Earth science education in the United States. ESE sponsored 340 workshops to train teachers in the use of Earth science information products in their curricula. NASA also awarded 51 new graduate fellowships.
ESEs third goal is the final step toward ensuring the benefits of its new scientific knowledge will extend beyond the science community to the broader economy and society. Through its Commercial Remote Sensing Program, ESE partnered with private companies in the remote-sensing information product business to develop 20 new products, such as oilspill containment software, models to predict wildfire behavior, and crop health information systems. ESE sponsored three U.S. regional assessments of the impacts of climate change, in concert with academia and regional authorities, to help them plan for the future. Finally, ESE demonstrated the ability of new technologies to make Landsat-type measurements far less expensively in the future and transferred new software technologies to academia and industry to manage large Earth science data sets.
After the end of FY 2000, NASA established a new Enterprise called the Biological and Physical Research Enterprise (BPRE) from the former Office of Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applications. For conveniences sake, this report will refer to this office as BPRE.
During FY 2000, BPRE executed a memorandum of understanding with the National Cancer Institute focusing on new approaches to detect, monitor, and treat disease. This cutting-edge effort uses biological models to develop medical sensors that will be smaller, more sensitive, and more specific than todays state of the art. The Enterprise established a pricing policy for a commercial demonstration program on the ISS and entered into two initial commercial agreements.
In FY 2000, BPRE continued to develop a robust scientific community to maximize return from future flight opportunities including the International Space Station. BPRE made awards under six NASA Research Announcements (NRA) in FY 2000 and built its investigator community to approximately 960 investigations as part of continuing preparations for ISS utilization. BPRE researchers published over 1,400 articles in peer-reviewed journals in FY 1999, with similar publication rates expected for FY 2000.
While BPRE researchers completed preparations for their next dedicated spaceflight research mission, BPRE ground-based research continued to provide important results. Investigators demonstrated that muscle healing is inhibited by a period of simulated microgravity before injury. Investigators also identified a key gene in the regulation of plant growth and the response of plants to gravity identified. BPRE research also showed that a parathyroid hormone modulates the response of bone-building cells to mechanical stimulation. A BPRE-supported researcher demonstrated that it is possible to amplify a beam of atoms, similar to the way a beam of light can be amplified, by increasing the number of atoms in an initial atom beam with light and a Bose-Einstein condensate. Researchers fabricated single-wall carbon nanotubes using flame synthesis.
In addition, BPRE made significant progress toward developing new, advanced life-support technologies and improved approaches for maintaining health in the hostile environment of space. BPRE completed utilities outfitting of its new BIOplex closed life-support test chamber system. Researchers produced the next generation of tunable diode lasers and continued testing of an advanced miniature mass spectrometer for monitoring spacecraft atmospheres. Ground-based research designed to simulate spaceflight demonstrated that the clinically approved drug, midodrine, prevented human orthostatic intolerance (or fainting on return to gravity). BPRE research implicated elevated levels of nitric oxide and decreased blood vessel contraction, thus identifying a target for the control of blood pressure changes associated with spaceflight.
BPREs Space Product Development Program continued to market the benefits of space-based research to industry, facilitate industrys access to space, provide space research expertise and flight hardware, and advocate the commercial use of space. The program continued to be executed through Commercial Space Centers (CSC) that established industry partnerships with the objective of developing new commercial space products or dual-use technologies. The industry partners continued to invest substantial cash and/or in-kind resources in the projects.
There were a number of highlights of this CSC work during FY 2000. The Wisconsin Center for Space Automation and Robotics CSC received a Space Technology Hall of Fame 2000 Award from Space Foundation/NASA for innovative light-emitting diode (LED) technology for medical applications. Originally used to light space-flown plant chambers, the LED technology is finding uses in photodynamic cancer therapy and wound healing. Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) continued its strategic partnership with BioServe Space Technologies CSC on microgravity fermentation research for improved production of antibiotics. BMS and BioServe have had an ongoing collaboration on this research for several years and this research partnership was expected to continue on the ISS. Hewlett-Packard (HP) signed a membership agreement with the Center for Commercial Applications of Combustion in Space (CCACS) CSC. HP scientists in Colorado will work with CCACS scientists to develop techniques for in situ imaging of bone in-growth into porous ceramic implants. They and several other groups are partners in the CCACS biomaterials consortium. Two companies joined the Center for Advanced Microgravity Materials Processing (CAMMP) as full members: Polaroid Corporation and Busek Co., Inc. Researchers built a system to explore the growth of silver halides and began testing at CAMMP.
During FY 2000, NASA continued its international activities, expanding cooperation with its partners through new agreements, discussions in multilateral fora, and support for ongoing missions.
NASA concluded over 60 cooperative and reimbursable international agreements for projects in each of NASAs Strategic Enterprises. These agreements include ground-based research, aircraft campaigns, satellite missions, and agreements for research facilities and experiments to be flown on the ISS. One such agreement was a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between NASA and the Japanese Institute of Space and Astronautical Sciences for cooperation on the ASTRO-E mission, the fifth in a series of Japanese astronomy satellites devoted to observations of celestial X-ray sources. Another was a NASA-Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization MOU for cooperation on Australias first satellite mission called Federation Satellite or FEDSAT. NASA will provide a scientific instrument for this experimental microsatellite to be launched in 2001. In addition, the ISS partners approved a Crew Code of Conduct for the ISS, paving the way for a permanent human presence. This Code of Conduct was called for in the Intergovernmental Agreement and Memoranda of Understanding for the ISS. Agreement on the text was reached in September 2000, followed by steps taken in each partner nation to enter it into force.
As part of the U.S. Government team, NASA continued its discussions with the Government of Japan to clarify the 1995 United States-Japan Cross-Waiver Agreement on Space Activities. The Cross-Waiver Agreement ensures that Japan and the United States agree to waive liability claims for cooperative U.S.-Japan space activities.
NASA participated in numerous international meetings designed to review ongoing or to foster new cooperation. These included the Committee on Earth Observing Satellites (CEOS) annual plenary meeting, the United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and its subcommittees, and the Inter-Agency Consultative Group for Space Science. NASA and Portugal held a workshop in Lisbon during December 1999 to exchange information with the goal of identifying opportunities for cooperation. In May 2000, NASA hosted a Space Science International Partnership Conference to exchange information on future plans for space science programs at which 20 space agencies participated.
NASA also engaged in discussions with current and potential future partners at the Senior Management level, hosting visitors from around the world. In addition, the NASA Administrator traveled overseas to review the status of ongoing cooperation or to promote new cooperation. In May 2000, the NASA Administrator gave a keynote address at the GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) 2000 conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, as part of a series of announcements by the U.S. Government concerning the Presidents decision to terminate selective availability on the GPS signals effective at midnight on May 1, 2000. The Administrator traveled to Rome and Padua, Italy, in June 2000, where he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Padua and held meetings with the Vatican and the Italian Space Agency. The Administrator led a NASA delegation to the launch of the first element of the International Space Station, the Zvezda Service Module on July 12, 2000, from the Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan. In August 2000, the Administrator visited Morocco where he signed four new agreements for cooperation with the Royal Remote Sensing Center of Morocco. These agreements provide for the installation of an Aerosol Robotic Network aerosol measurement station in Morocco and cooperation on coastal upwelling ecosystems, precipitation research, and desertification research. In late August and early September, the Administrator accompanied a U.S. congressional delegation, led by Congressman James Walsh of New York, Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee to France, Russia, and Ireland.