The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Glenn Research Center (GRC) is investigating revolutionary and advanced universal, reliable, always available, cyber secure and affordable Communication, Navigation, Surveillance (CNS) options for all altitudes of UAS operations. In Spring 2015, NASA issued a Call for Proposals under NASA Research Announcements (NRA) NNH15ZEA001N, Amendment 7 Subtopic 2.4. Boeing was selected to conduct a study with the objective to determine the most promising candidate technologies for Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) air-to-air and air-to-ground data exchange and analyze their suitability in a post-NextGen NAS environment. The overall objectives are to develop UAS CNS requirements and then develop architectures that satisfy the requirements for UAS in both controlled and uncontrolled airspace. This contract is funded under NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorates (ARMD) Aviation Operations and Safety Program (AOSP) Safe Autonomous Systems Operations (SASO) project and proposes technologies for the Unmanned Air Systems Traffic Management (UTM) service.
There is a need for accommodating large-scale populations of Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) in the national airspace. Scale obviously impacts capacity planning for Communication, Navitation, and Surveillance (CNS) technologies. For example, can wireless communications data links provide the necessary capacity for accommodating millions of small UASs (sUAS) nationwide? Does the communications network provide sufficient Internet Protocol (IP) address space to allow air traffic control to securely address both UAS teams as a whole as well as individual UAS within each team? Can navigation and surveillance approaches assure safe route planning and safe separation of vehicles even in crowded skies?
Our objective is to identify revolutionary and advanced CNS alternatives supporting UASs operating at all altitudes and in all airspace while accurately navigating in the absence of navigational aids. These CNS alternatives must be reliable, redundant, always available, cyber-secure, and affordable for all types of vehicles including small UAS to large transport category aircraft. The approach will identify CNS technology candidates that can meet the needs of the range of UAS missions to specific air traffic management applications where they will be most beneficial and cost effective.
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