The Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Program (TACP) cultivates
multi-disciplinary, revolutionary concepts to enable aviation
Although TACP's focus is on sharply focused research, the program
provides flexibility for innovators to explore technology feasibility
and provide the knowledge base for radical transformation. The program
solicits and encourages revolutionary concepts, creates the environment
for researchers to experiment with new ideas, performs ground and
small-scale flight tests, allows failures and learns from them, and
drives rapid turnover into potential future concepts.
NASA has indentified substantial aeronautics-research challenges that
include global demand for mobility, significant energy and
sustainability changes, and ongoing air-travel affordability. TACP
harnesses convergence in aeronautics and non-aeronautics innovation to
help develop next-generation aviation technologies to address and
overcome these problems.
Further, TACP will devote time and attention to computational and
experimental tools critical to providing paradigm-shifting analysis and
enlarging experimental capabilities. TACP research is organized to
aggressively engage both the traditional aeronautics community and
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Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Projects
Convergent Aeronautics Solutions (CAS)
This project conducts short-duration activities to establish early-stage
concepts and technology feasibility for high-potential solutions.
Internal teams propose ideas for overcoming key barriers associated with
large-scale aeronautics problems. The focus is on merging traditional
aeronautics disciplines with advancements driven by the non-aeronautics
world to make possible new capabilities in commercial aviation.
CAS teams will conduct initial feasibility studies, perform experiments,
try out new ideas, identify failures, and try again. At the end of that
cycle, a review determines whether the developed solutions have met
their goals, established initial feasibility, and identified real-world
potential. During the reviews, the most promising capabilities will be
considered for further development by other NASA aeronautics programs or
by direct transfer to the aviation community.
In a dynamic environment of new ideas, even if activities do not
proceed, significant value will be gleaned from the knowledge that will
be widely disseminated among the aeronautics community at large.
Transformational Tools and Technologies (TTT)
This project advances state-of-the-art computational and experimental
tools and technologies that are vital to aviation applications in the
six strategic thrusts. The project develops new computer-based tools,
models, and associated scientific knowledge that will provide
first-of-a-kind capabilities to analyze, understand, and predict
performance for a wide variety of aviation concepts. These revolutionary
tools will be applied to accelerate NASA’s research and the community’s
design and introduction of advanced concepts. Examples include the
development and validation of new computational tools that are used to
predict the complex turbulent airflow around vehicles and within
propulsion systems, ultimately leading to greater abilities to predict
future vehicle performance in flight. The Project also explores
technologies that are broadly-critical to advancing ARMD strategic
outcomes, such as the understanding of new types of strong and
lightweight materials, innovative controls techniques, and experimental
methods. Such technologies will support and enable concept development
and benefits assessment across multiple ARMD programs and disciplines.
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Leading Edge Aero Research for NASA (LEARN)
Through awards to university and industry teams, this project explores
the creation of novel concepts and processes with the potential to
create next-generation capabilities in aeronautics research. LEARN
incorporates a competitive review process of the external teams'
proposals to develop integrated solutions for complex technical problems
captured in NASA's aeronautics-research thrusts, followed by
short-duration activities for feasibility assessment. Follow-on phases
of the most promising ideas are also funded.
With this process, NASA funds help catalyze external investments toward
solving pressing aviation-related problems. Like the CAS Project,
LEARN's goal is to identify and mature new concepts and then infuse the
most promising ones into the ARMD research portfolio for further
development. Developing new ideas – whether they originate inside or
outside NASA – are a critical part of NASA Aeronautics' approach to
enabling transformation in aviation.
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TACP in the News
NASA Studying Volcanic Ash Engine Test Results
Electric Propulsion Paired with Digital Control May Usher in a New Era of Flight
NASA, Partners Test Engine Health Monitoring System
NASA Funds Five Teams to Study Inventive Ideas for Aviation
NASA, Air Force and Industry Team Up to Improve Flying Safety