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Airspace Operations Lab Left-Side Header Image
Mission statement header
Our mission in the Airspace Operations Laboratory (AOL) is twofold:

(1) to provide a better understanding of roles, responsibilities, and requirements for human operators and automation in future air traffic management (ATM) systems;

(2) to develop, evaluate, and integrate operational concepts and technologies for Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) in a high fidelity human-in-the-loop (HITL) environment.
Highlights Header
The Airspace Operations Laboratory (AOL) hosted a visit by NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo.
Paper by members of the Airspace Operations Laboratory (AOL) awarded Best Paper of Session at the 40th Digital Avionics Systems Conference.
NASA's Scalable Traffic Management for Emergency Response Operations (STEReO) project conducts first field test of the UASP-kit with USFS at the McCash Fire.
NASA Transfers All Findings from the Airspace Technology Demonstration 2 (ATD-2) to the FAA.
NASA's Scalable Traffic Management for Emergency Response Operations (STEReO) project is featured on TW@N (This Week at NASA).
Airspace Technology Demonstration 2 (ATD-2) Selected as NASA Software of the Year Runner-up.
NASA's Scalable Traffic Management for Emergency Response Operations (STEReO) project conducts a field demonstration at a US Forest Service/CAL FIRE training exercise in Redding, California.
Earth Day 2021: NASA’s Scalable Traffic Management for Emergency Operations (STEReO) project is helping emergency responders combat climate-related disasters.
The Airspace Operations Laboratory (AOL) National Campaign (NC) team participates in flight test at Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC) 2021.
NASA’s Scalable Traffic Management for Emergency Response Operations (STEReO) project conducts a field demonstration at a US Forest Service training exercise in Phoenix, Arizona.
The Airspace Operations Laboratory (AOL) showcases the UAS Traffic Management (UTM) System at the Virtual AIAA SciTech Forum.
NASA Ames' Scalable Traffic Management for Emergency Response Operations (STEReO) team conducts flight test at the Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (DART) Training facility.
Airspace Operations Lab Image Collage
AOL Overview Header
The Airspace Operations Lab evaluates ATM concepts and explores human-system interaction issues in a simulation environment designed to allow rapid prototyping of NextGen concepts. This environment allows simulations of aircraft, ATM systems and communication infrastructure for both current day operations and a variety of future, highly automated concepts. Controller workstations are realistic emulations of today's en route, Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) and oceanic systems, enhanced with various AOL-developed decision support tools and automated functions.

Our main research goal is to evaluate future ATM systems and associated human-system interactions. These findings help the ATM community to understand how these issues relate to NextGen concepts, and can lead to better understanding of roles and responsibilities for human operators and automation in future ATM systems.
AOL Virtual Tour Header
Get an inside look at the Airspace Operations Laboratory (AOL) by taking our virtual tour. Click the image below and navigate your way through the various rooms in our facility. While taking the tour, click the icons to learn about our research, view images and watch videos.

Click to open the Airspace Operations Laboratory (AOL) virtual tour.
Current Research header
Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) thumbnail The AOL plays a vital role in the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Project’s National Campaign testing series. Building on its legacy of work in air traffic management and its role in the success of NASA’s UTM efforts, the AOL is leading the integration and testing of the AAM ecosystem that will help inform the airspace integration requirements to enable safe, efficient, and scalable AAM operation in the National Airspace System (NAS). Along with government and industry partners, the AOL team will be hosting the AAM National Campaign (NC) series and serving as the Operations Center during the NC activities.
Air Traffic Management Technology Demonstration 2 (ATD-2) The AOL is participating in a multi-lab effort and a field evaluation of the integration of tools that comprise the ATD-2 system. The AOL’s role is specialized in evaluating airspace solutions and human factors from an operational stand-point. ATD-2 aims to improve the predictability and the operational efficiency of the air traffic system in metroplex environments through the enhancement, development and integration of the nation’s most advanced arrival, departure and surface prediction, scheduling and management systems.
Click to go to the NextGen Future Environments Page Along with the Department of Defense (DoD), the AOL is supporting Federal Agencies in developing a prototype Federal UAS Service Supplier (FUSS). The aim of this research is to assist in determining the functions and features needed for a Federal UAS Service Supplier (FUSS) and its requirements for integration with the UAS Traffic Management (UTM) environment.
Click to go to the NextGen Future Environments Page The High Density Vertiplex (HDV) subproject is responsible for the development and evaluation of a reference automation architecture that addresses scalable and efficient aircraft operations, flight and airspace management procedures, and vertiport operations in high density vertiplex environments.
Click to go to the Integrated Demand Management (IDM) Page The AOL led development of the Integrated Demand Management (IDM) concept for coordinated use of the FAA's Time Based Flow Management (TBFM) and Traffic Flow Management System (TFMS). IDM addresses concerns regarding efficiency of flight operations involving traffic inbound to major airports, like those in the New York Metro area. A series of human-in-the-loop simulations were conducted with stakeholders to develop and evaluate the IDM concept during clear and convective weather scenarios, showing how TBFM operations improve when TFMS strategically "preconditions" the inbound traffic.
Scalable Traffic Management for Emergency Response Operations (STEReO) thumbnail The AOL is applying NASA technology to improve emergency response operations. STEReO is a convergence of knowledge and technology in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM), Autonomy, Communications, Human Factors, and Domain Expertise & Tools, aimed at providing operational resiliency to dynamic changes during a natural disaster.
Upper Class E Traffic Management (ETM) thumbnail Upper-Class E Traffic Management (ETM) is an airspace management concept for National Airspace System (NAS) flight operations at or above FL600. As recent advances in technologies increase the demand in the stratospheric airspace, the disparity of vehicles and the mixture of operating paradigms present new opportunities for a cooperative and interactive traffic management perspective.
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Curator: Phil So
NASA Official: Joey Mercer
Last Updated: August 18, 2021