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Human System Integration Division’s Upper Class E Traffic Management (ETM) Team Conducts First Collaborative Evaluation With Industry Partners
(Jul 10, 2024)
The Upper Class E Traffic Management (ETM) team hosted their first Collaborative Evaluation (CE-1) at the Airspace Operations Laboratory (AOL) at NASA Ames Research Center, June 25-27, 2024. ETM is an airspace management concept for high altitude flight operations at or above 60,000 feet. The purpose of this research is to establish an approach to cooperative-based traffic management and define the environment, architecture and data exchanges needed to enable an ETM system that is safe, scalable, and equitable. This recent evaluation/demonstration activity is a product of a joint collaboration between NASA and high-altitude platform industry partners, Aerostar and AeroVironment.

These two industry partners signed Non-reimbursable Space Act Agreements (NRSAA) and Interconnect Security Agreements (ISA) in order to investigate connectivity needs for the ETM system and evaluate the state-of-the-art.  The CE-1 event focused on the use of the ETM service supplier system to enable cooperative operations in upper Class E airspace through data exchange. NASA provided access to a prototype ETM Service Supplier (ESS) to collaboratively test cooperative operation scenarios and use cases, generating consensus for the cooperative operating practices (COPs).

A simulation exercise, conducted in the Airspace Operations Laboratory (AOL), in connection with the two partner sites, was held to explore notional procedures and information exchange requirements between ESS and vehicle operators to share their vehicles' operational intent (OI), detect strategic conflicts, and negotiate jointly; equitable solutions using an initial set of COPs. A set of use cases with associated routes/OIs were developed jointly by NASA, Aerostar, and AeroVironment prior to the demonstration activity via a series of software connectivity tests and testing/refinement of the OIs in the scenarios.

Ultimately, the CE-1 evaluation proved to be a resounding success, as NASA’s industry partners were highly engaged throughout the process and provided NASA with valuable feedback. The activity allowed the partners to visualize, and role play the OI submission and negotiation process, which allowed them to provide detailed feedback, evaluation, and brainstorming about the potential ways that flight operations should be conducted and COPs should be framed. They were very interested in continued engagement with NASA and asked for potential follow-up activities to play out other scenarios using the CE-1 connectivity setup. 
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Curator: Phil So
NASA Official: Jessica Nowinski
Last Updated: March 18, 2024