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ASK OCE — August 31, 2006 — Vol. 1, Issue 13

 

Over the next decade NASA, along with other federal agencies and private industry, should focus its civil aeronautics research and technology efforts on inter-sector cooperation and practical applicability, according to a survey by the National Research Council.

The National Research Council’s Committee on the Decadal Survey of Civil Aeronautics concluded that civil aeronautics research and technology (R&T) over the next decade should serve as a foundation for addressing four high-priority strategic objectives:

  • Increase capacity
  • Improve safety and reliability
  • Increase efficiency and performance
  • Reduce energy consumption and environmental impact

In order to achieve these strategic objectives, the Committee identified 51 high-priority R&T challenges that will require the development of new physics-based analysis tools, multidisciplinary design tools, advanced configurations, intelligent and adaptive systems, and complex interactive systems.

According to the report, two key barriers to realizing the strategic objectives will be certification and management of change. In order to ensure new technologies can succeed in practical application, technologies should be certified as they are developed, which may require implementing new certification tools and practices. Given the complexity of interactions in the air transportation system, new instruments and techniques are also necessary to anticipate and introduce changes that can benefit the system as technologies mature.

The Committee specifically asked NASA to act in four primary areas: allocation of funding; cooperation with both federal and private sectors; project development management (with the goal of releasing projects to the private sector earlier, when appropriate); and investment in research towards improved ground and flight test facilities and diagnostics.

The Committee was convened in 2005 at the request of NASA. The report was released in June 2006, with recommendations presented to the U.S. House of Representatives on July 18, 2006.

Read the National Research Councils Decadal Survey of Civil Aeronautics.

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