guidance on applications that appear likely. Furthermore, NASA must seek the active involvement of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and state and local agencies in the technology program. Their involvement is necessary in reaching an understanding of the constraints on technology deployment, such as environmental, safety, and public finance concerns.
To ensure the continuation of forward-looking aeronautics R&D, the committee urges NASA to join with other relevant government agencies, led by the Department of Transportation, in undertaking studies of future civil aviation needs and the opportunity for technology advancements to meet them and potentially stimulate new uses for civil aviation. Working with FAA, the National Transportation Safety Board, and other governmental agencies with operational and technological expertise should give NASA a better understanding of such needs and opportunities. The capabilities and technologies being developed under the SATS program may prove useful in ways that are not now apparent; for instance, they may benefit many different users by increasing the safety and utility of both general and commercial aviation. Indeed, many system and vehicle configurations that are not envisioned for the current SATS concept may prove useful. The committee urges NASA to keep such possibilities in mind.
The committee commends NASA for requesting and sponsoring this review, which offers the opportunity for the perspectives and advice of experts in transportation and other disciplines not involved in the conception of SATS to be brought to bear. Such external reviews are a valuable means of obtaining fresh perspectives on R&D program goals, plans, and accomplishments, and additional policy-level and technical reviews are desirable as the restructured program proceeds.