Office of Aerospace Technology (Code R)
Associate Administrator: Samuel L. Venneri
Public Affairs Contacts: Michael Braukus 202/358-1979
Jim Cast 202/358-1779
The total Fiscal Year 2002 Appropriations budget request for the Aerospace Technology Enterprise is $2,375.7 million; this is comprised of $1,504.5 million of formerly Science, Aeronautics, and Technology Appropriations Research and Development funding and $871.2 million of formerly Mission Support Appropriation funding.
The Aerospace Technology Enterprise's responsibility is to provide revolutionary advancements in science and technology that sustain global U.S. leadership in civil aviation and space. Some of the highlights of the FY 2002 budget are:
2nd Generation Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV): One of the Enterprise's high-visibility programs, the 2 nd Generation program will substantially reduce technical, programmatic and business risks associated with developing a safe, reliable and affordable RLV architecture. Low-cost, reliable space transportation remains the key for a more aggressive civil space program, greater commercial utilization of space and U.S. launch industry competitiveness. A central tenet of the National Space Policy is the transition of routine space activities to the private sector to concentrate NASA resources on high-leverage science research, technology development, and exploration activities.
The 2ndGeneration program will invest in technology, design and advanced development efforts to enable at least two competitive options for a new architecture. In the middle of this decade, NASA's efforts will lead to full-scale development of commercially competitive, privately owned and operated, Earth-to-orbit RLVs. NASA's intent is that such vehicles would be owned and operated by the private sector to meet both government and commercial launch requirements. The program's objective will be to dramatically improve safety while significantly reducing the cost of launch services.
Research, Education, and Training Institutes (RETIs): During FY 2002, the Enterprise will establish five university-based RETIs in an effort to strengthen NASA's ties to the academic community through long-term sustained investment in areas of innovative, new technology critical to NASA's future. At the same time, the RETIs will enhance and broaden the capabilities of the nation's universities to meet the needs of NASA's future science and technology programs. The role of the RETIs is intended to be research and exploitation of innovative, cutting-edge emerging opportunities in technology that can have a revolutionary impact on the missions that NASA pursues in the future. At the same time the university RETIs should expand the Nation's talent base for research and development.
Air Systems Simulation Modeling: An expanded effort to model the airspace environment will be accomplished under the Aviation Capacity Program. To meet the demands for the airspace system of the future, a revolutionary change will be necessary in the fundamental approach to airspace operations. This effort will provide the technical basis to guide policy by enabling the systematic exploration of revolutionary concepts and by defining the technologies needed to implement the concepts, as well as the concepts' limits. 21st Century Aerospace Vehicle: NASA's vehicle-systems base research effort will begin to focus on developing the technologies needed for a 21st century aerospace vehicle. This research will develop and verify critical technologies that provide leapfrog capabilities compared to today's state-of-the-art vehicles. The futuristic craft will be able to change their shape in flight like birds to optimize performance or perform complex maneuvers in complete safety, and be capable of self-repair when damaged.
Design for Safety: One area of Information Technology (IT) emphasis will be "Design for Safety." This research activity will provide a dramatic change in how systems engineering and operations will be performed, placing risk estimation and risk countermeasures for overall mission and human safety on a more rigorous, explicit and quantifiable basis. This would allow design trades to be evaluated based on a risk factor, with the same fidelity and confidence used for other mission or system properties such as cost, schedule and performance.
Bio-nanotechnology: Bio-nanotechnology computing and electronics can provide capabilities orders of magnitude better than the best of today's electronics. Developed as detectors and sensors, they could enable spacecraft systems to be much smaller, with higher performance, and lower power-consumption than possible with today's technology. Biologically inspired materials will have multi-functional capability (carry loads, thermal control, embedded sensors and actuators),and overall performance far greater than current materials. Key capabilities of these systems will be the ability to adapt to changing conditions and Agency mission needs, and to detect damage or degradation before it becomes serious and reconfigure or repair themselves.
Aerospace Autonomous Operations: An expanded IT focus on Aerospace Autonomous Operations will enable better, faster, cheaper, more reliable aerospace missions by extending the scope of decisions and actions that can be done under computer control. This research will enable NASA unmanned missions to accomplish more by improving autonomous decision-making and enhancing the interpretation of science data returned. It will enable human missions to be cheaper and safer by providing more sophisticated interactions between astronaut and machines. Finally, it will enable ground operations to be cheaper and faster, by allowing a reduced ground-operations team to send more complex high-level instructions. This activity will strongly benefit from the more fundamental research being developed under the Enterprise's Intelligent Systems program.
In order to meet its long-term goals, the Aerospace Enterprise has decided to realign and refocus some of its research and technology programs toward long-term, revolutionary advancements in aerospace capabilities. These changes resulted in the termination of aeronautics programs that were evolutionary in nature, had a more near-term focus, and were not on the critical path towards achievement of the Enterprise's goals. The terminated programs and projects include the Rotorcraft, Advanced Aircraft and Intelligent Synthesis Environment programs, and the Computational Aerospace Sciences and NASA Research and Education Network projects in the High Performance Computing and Communications Program. Elements of the Intelligent Synthesis Environment program have been integrated into the more encompassing "design for safety" activity. In addition, selected Space Base projects are not funded in FY 2002.
Aerospace Base Research and Technology -- $637 million
NASA's Aerospace Base Research and Technology (R&T) provides the vital foundation of expertise and facilities that meet a wide range of aeronautical and space transportation technology challenges for the nation. The Aerospace Base also maintains the core competencies necessary at the research centers for NASA to accomplish its mission. The R&T Base programs are:
Computing, Information & Communications Technologies (CICT): In FY 2002, CICT will see the completion of major steps towards autonomous science exploration, including the development of the conceptual high-level autonomy architecture for planetary rovers. A collaboration has been formed with the Mars 2003 mission team to demonstrate the benefits of advanced planning and scheduling technology for automated sequence generation. The technology will be integrated into existing tools to be used by the mission and will be considered for incorporation into the mission following the demonstration.
Aerospace Vehicle Systems Technology (AVST): In FY 2002, the AVST program continues its healthy balance between aeronautics activities and contributions to space transportation. Technologies in the areas of safety, environmental compatibility, general aviation, next-generation design tools, experimental aircraft and access to space will be continued. Tasks for space transportation will be completed, including the second flight of the Mach 7 Hyper-X vehicle and the first flight at Mach 10.
Aerospace Propulsion and Power: During FY 2002, the effort to improve engine safety will continue. The UltraSafe Propulsion project will develop new composite, containment-system structural concepts that can be transferred to the Aviation Safety Program for full-scale validation. Pulse-detonation engine (PDE) technologies will be further matured, with the demonstration of critical sub-system performance in one or more PDE system concepts. In addition, the Propulsion and Power Program will focus on technologies applicable to engine designs for 2nd and 3rd generation reusable launch vehicles.
Aerospace Flight Research: In FY 2002 the Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology (ERAST) project will continue with the development and demonstration of a turbo-prop, unmanned aerial vehicle for routine flight operations, with capabilities that exceed the minimum Earth Science Enterprise altitude and duration requirements. The Revolutionary Concepts (RevCon) project is intended to close the technology-transfer gaps between developmental technologies and concepts, and flight-validated systems and aerospace vehicles
Space Transfer and Launch Technology (STLT): In FY 2002, the STLT Program will focus on technological advances to increase safety and reliability while reducing launch costs beyond the 2nd Generation RLV Program.
Aerospace Focused Programs -- $720.6 million
NASA's Aerospace Focused Programs address national needs, clearly defined customer requirements and deliverables, critical program decision and completion dates, and a specified class of research with potential application. The focused programs are:
Aviation Safety Program (AvSP): The goal of NASA's Aviation Safety Program is to develop and demonstrate technologies that contribute to a reduction in aviation accident and fatality rates by a factor of five by the year 2007. In FY 2002, the Aviation System Monitoring and Modeling project will demonstrate tools for merging heterogeneous air-service providers' databases to aid causal analysis and risk assessment. Also, this project will add provisions to include the general-aviation pilot community to the National Airspace System Operational Monitoring Service survey system. The System-Wide Accident Prevention project will determine, through simulations, the error probabilities of present and future hazard/risk contexts and the probability of reducing the likelihood of error given proposed mitigation strategies. The Single Aircraft Accident Prevention project will demonstrate high-fidelity, six-degree-of-freedom simulation models of loss-of-control and recovery conditions, as well as simulations of subsystem concepts for the prevention of and recovery from these conditions. The Weather Accident Prevention project will demonstrate a national capability for digital data-link and graphical display of weather information. This project will also demonstrate a forward-looking, onboard turbulence-warning system. In the Accident Mitigation project, analysis tools for aircraft structural-crashworthiness prediction will be validated.
Aviation Systems Capacity: During FY 2002, the Advanced Air Transportation Technologies project will demonstrate through simulation an interoperable suite of decision-support tools for arrival, surface and departure operations. Development work will lead to the transfer of surface-management-system technology to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Free Flight Phase 2 Program in FY 2004. The capability will reduce arrival and departure delays and inefficiencies that occur on the airport surface due to surface issues and other restrictions.
Ultra Efficient Engine Technology (UEET): The Ultra-Efficient Engine Technology (UEET) Program is to develop and hand off revolutionary propulsion technologies that will address local air quality concerns by developing technologies to reduce oxides of nitrogen (NOX ) emissions by 70 percent at landing and take-off conditions, with comparable reductions in cruise operations. UEET will also address the potential of climate impact on long-term aviation growth and provide critical propulsion technologies to reduce fuel-burn by 15 percent for large subsonic transport and eight percent for high speed and /or small subsonic aircraft. The result be a dramatic increase in performance and efficiency of engine technology with comparable reductions of carbon dioxide emissions. Planned and designed to develop high-payoff, high-risk technologies, the UEET program will enable the next breakthrough in propulsion systems to spawn a new generation of high-performance, operationally efficient, economically reliable and environmentally compatible U.S. aircraft. In FY 2002, the program will complete sector testing of a low-NOX combustor concept capable of a 70 percent reduction in NOX (from the 1996 baseline) and demonstrate one additional concept for reductions of other emissions.
Small Aircraft Transportation System: The Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) Program is aimed at improving mobility and increasing access to air travel. Specifically, SATS is an air transportation proof-of-concept to reduce intercity travel times by half and increase the number of local communities served by air transport tenfold or more to augment today's hub-and-spoke air transportation and provide on-demand air service at equivalent airline costs. In FY 2002 the program will forge agreements with outside organizations to create the alliance, and prepare operational requirements, functional architecture, and technical documentation required for the infrastructure to support the SATS concept.
Quiet Aircraft Technology: Plans for FY 2002 include the development of a systems approach to propulsion-airframe aeroacoustics which will account for the placement/ movement of individual noise sources on non-conventional aircraft platforms. The model also will account for acoustic interactions between the noise sources and platform and will be easier to use. Source diagnostics tests will be completed which will give engine component designers an insight into the fundamental physics of the mechanisms that generate broadband fan noise. The data generated by these tests will be used to improve the computational algorithms used in computer codes to predict engine noise. Also, an advanced concept for reduced jet noise will be initiated, and if promising, tested at laboratory scale later in the program.
Future X-Pathfinder: Now part of the 2nd Generation Reusable Launch Vehicle program, the objective of the Future-X Pathfinder Program is to flight-demonstrate advanced space transportation technologies through the use of flight experiments and experimental vehicles. The X-37 space-plane technology test-bed is a modular demonstrator vehicle that will be the first experimental X-vehicle to be flown in both orbital and reentry environments. Currently, the X-37 is slated to fly two missions on the Space Shuttle, beginning in 2003. However, results from the 2nd Generation Program's NASA Research Announcement procurement could influence not only these plans, but also future plans for the X-37.
Commercial Technology Programs -- $146.9 million
NASA's Commercial Technology Program includes Commercial Programs, Technology Transfer Agents and the Small Business Innovative Research Program. NASA's procurement could influence not only these plans, but also future plans for the X-37. Commercial Technology Programs -- $146.9 million NASA's Commercial Technology Program includes Commercial Programs, Technology Transfer Agents and the Small Business Innovative Research Program. NASA's Commercial Technology Program facilitates the transfer of inventions, innovations, discoveries or improvements developed by NASA personnel, or in partnership with industry/universities, to the private sector for commercial application leading to greater U.S. economic growth and competitiveness.
Aerospace Institutional Support -- $871.2 million
The Aerospace Technology Enterprise's responsibility is to provide institutional support for the four NASA Aerospace Centers: Ames Research Center, Dryden Flight Research Center, Glenn Research Center, and Langley Research Center. Also supported by the Enterprise is the portion of the Marshall Space Flight Center responsible for the Space Launch Initiative. This funding represents Civil Servant payroll and travel, Research and Operations Support, and non-programmatic Construction of Facilities.