Internal NASA Memo Regarding Upcoming Aeronautics Workshops

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2005 19:38:18 -0400
Subject: Upcoming workshops
From: Lisa Porter lisa.porter-1@NASA.GOV
To: (long list)

Hello everyone,

As most of you are aware, we are in the midst of overhauling Aeronautics. What was previously called "Aviation Safety and Security" has been significantly reworked to ensure that we re-establish our dedication to mastery of the core competencies of Aeronautics and that we focus our research in areas that are appropriate to the unique capabilities of NASA. We are calling this reworked program "Aircraft Safety."

Below you will find information about upcoming brainstorming workshops that we are planning to hold here in DC (near HQ). I have also attached the latest versions of the four pre-decisional thrust area diagrams for Aircraft Safety (Integrated Vehicle Health Management, Aging Aircraft, Integrated Resilient Aircraft Control, and Integrated Intelligent Flight Deck technologies) that illustrate the big-picture strategy we will adopt. Also included in this package are draft milestone schedule templates. One of the key objectives of the workshops will be to complete these templates for each of the four thrust areas. Both OMB and Congress have made it clear that we need to have a way to demonstrate measurable progress. We will develop multi-year plans with clearly defined milestones that address that need. Such milestones will not be "gee-whiz demos" or point-designs that provide limited traceability and scalability to long-term objectives.

I apologize for the quick timeline. It is my goal to present a solid plan to both OMB and Congress as quickly as possible, and I need your help in pulling a plan together that is technically sound. It is very challenging to define a long-term plan that is sufficiently dynamic that it allows for adaptation as we learn new things, and that at the same time defines concrete milestones that are technically meaningful and credible. But, when done well, such a plan can lead to the development of truly revolutionary capabilities.

George Finelli has been working with me in pulling this together. Hopefully, the text below will be clear, but if you have any logistics questions, please don't hesitate to contact him (757-864-6188 or G.B.FINELLI@LaRC.NASA.GOV). If you have any technical questions, please send an email to both of us.

Thanks, Lisa

Aircraft Safety Workshops


The plan is to have 4 thrust areas in the new Aircraft Safety Program: Integrated Vehicle Health Management, Aging Aircraft, Integrated Resilient Aircraft Control, and Integrated Intelligent Flight Deck Technologies. The ultimate objective in each area will be to develop system-level predictive capabilities that are built from the ground up. There will be some overlap in each area in terms of core competencies, but each area will focus the research in different ways.


Each workshop will be in Washington, DC near NASA Headquarters. The schedule for these workshops is:

Integrated Intelligent Flight Deck Technologies October 12-13
Integrated Vehicle Health Management October 18-19
Integrated Resilient Aircraft Control October 20-21
Aging Aircraft October 25-26

  • Each workshop will be two full days (8AM to 5PM), so please make your travel plans accordingly. We request that you commit to attend one of the workshops for two full days.
  • Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and work hard. Needless to say, rewriting the future is an intense activity. You should be exhausted at the end of the workshop. (Dress is obviously whatever it takes to get you into "tool mode" jeans, Hawaiian shirts, business suits, whatever.) There will be no "shooting the breeze," whining about the past, etc. We don't have time for that.
  • If you think that there are people who should be on the invitee list, please let us know. We're doing this fast, and we may be forgetting people, or just not aware of them.
  • That said, we will limit attendance at each workshop to 25 people (tops) in order to make sure that we get useful output. We've invited more than that in order to make sure we get enough.
  • Also, given the space limitation, we ask that the FAA and USAF invitees work together to select only 1 or 2 representatives at most who will best represent their organization. We are looking for technical expertise.
  • Current invitees are on the attached list. We ask that you self-select a workshop (or two) based on your skills and interests. We do expect some overlap, however, if we get 3 or 4 people from the same specialty signed up for one workshop, we may ask that only 1 or 2 attend to keep the total number at or below 25. Or, we may ask that they split attendance among different workshops.


Each workshop team will be asked to consider the following:

  • Are we missing any core competencies/research areas?
  • What are the appropriate milestones over a 10-year timeline at each of the four levels? The milestones need to demonstrate measurable progress to OMB and Congress over the long term.
  • What is a rough estimate of the percentage of level of effort that we need to apply at each of four levels?


Arrangements are underway to host the workshops at the International Trade Center building, 500 E Street SW, which is adjacent to NASA Headquarters. The L' Enfant Plaza Metro stop is only one block away.

  • If you plan to attend, we suggest that you make provisional hotel arrangements as soon as possible.
  • Lunch and refreshments will be provided at the meeting. You will be on your own for dinner.
  • We request that no cell phones or Blackberries be brought into the meeting. We do not want any distractions. We will make arrangements to accept emergency calls.


Please respond to George Finelli by email ( with the following information by COB Monday, September 19:

  • The workshop you would prefer to attend (and an alternate choice if you so choose)
  • Other recommended invitees
  • Regrets if you are unable to attend

Thanks in advance for your help and I look forward to seeing you in a couple weeks.

// end //

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