NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER:06 A3.01-9867
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Next Generation Air Transportation System - Airspace
PROPOSAL TITLE:Dynamic Airspace Configuration Tool (DACT)

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Metron Aviation, Inc.
131 Elden Street, Suite 200
Herndon, VA 20170-4758
(703) 456-0123

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Arash   Yousefi
yousefi@metronaviation.com
131 Elden Street, Suite 200
Herndon, VA  20170-4758
(703) 234-0123

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT ( Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Metron Aviation will develop optimization algorithms and an automated tool for performing dynamic airspace configuration under different operational scenarios. The Dynamic Airspace Configuration Tool (DACT) takes as an input the regularly updated projections of aggregated demand and weather forecasts and produces optimum airspace boundaries that balance the airspace complexity under various global and regional constraints for time horizons as short as four hours. The optimality criteria are defined separately for different levels of automation in Air Traffic Control (ATC) procedures. DACT enables the ATC managers to initiate high volume operational corridors and other classes of airspace to best serve the user demand for airspace resources. Additionally, when fully developed, DACT provides a capability for airspace managers to dynamically manage the allocation of Special Use Airspace (SUA) and Military Operation Airspace (MOA) to ensure security of the airspace system. DACT enables a more efficient utilization of airspace capacity and reduces the operational cost for air traffic control services by dynamically re-aligning the airspace boundaries to comply with the monthly, daily, and hourly alterations in user aggregated demand, route structures, and changes in weather patterns. DACT address one of the main components of NASA's NGATS Airspace effort in developing an operational framework for DAC concept that provides the air traffic service providers with a new degree of freedom to accommodate the user demand for airspace capacity, balanced against needs of national interest (e.g. security). The proposed effort will combine state of the art mathematical optimization techniques with ATC functional requirements necessary for development of the DAC concept.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Airspace capacity is limited by the ability of controllers to deal with complex traffic situations. In congested areas of the National Airspace System (NAS), the controller workload limitation is a critical capacity constraint that generates significant en route delay. In today's rigidly structured airspace system, the airspace managers do not have the flexibility to reconfigure the airspace based on aggregated demand. The only local tactical solution is combining two or more sectors and opening all or part of SUAs. These tactical modifications are not well communicated with the users, and the resulted capacity is often lost. To address these issues, NGATS envisions a more automated control system in which tactical separation assurance is fully automated and controllers will perform more strategic functions for managing the traffic. Accordingly, NASA's NGATS Airspace effort [1] is envisioned to develop an operational framework for Dynamic Airspace Configuration (DAC) (Milestone AS 3.3.01) that provides the air traffic service providers with a new degree of freedom to accommodate the user demand for airspace capacity, balanced against needs of national interest (e.g. security). The DACT system proposed in this SBIR combines state of the art mathematical optimization techniques (Milestone AS 1.3.03) with ATC functional requirements necessary for deployment of the DAC concept.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
As demand grows, more efficient procedures for airspace capacity management will be required to address the users' demand. Both Europe and the United States have reached a conclusion that airspace configuration should be dynamically adapted to user aggregated demand. If fully developed, the DAC concept can potentially change the ATM paradigm by introducing a revolutionary way for managing the airspace capacity and entire aviation community can benefit from this new concept. Estimates of ATM costs due to delays range from hundreds of millions to billions of dollars per year. The opportunity to save even a nominal percentage of these costs creates a significant amount of motivation for implementation of the DAC concept. This concept can also result in long-term savings for the FAA by reducing the controller workload and potentially decreasing the total number of controllers in the NAS. In the US government ATM market, the primary sources for funding are the organizations and agencies that maintain and improve the ATM systems of the US. Because of our role at the ATCSCC, Metron Aviation is well connected to these agencies. Similar to the US, the European airspace is suffering from excessive delays due to airspace design inefficiencies and, as such, European countries are other potential customers for decision support tools and design methodologies related to DAC.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING
Guidance, Navigation, and Control


Form Printed on 09-08-06 18:19