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Committee to Assess NASA's Aeronautics Flight Research Capabilities Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study is based on work supported by Contract NNH10CD04B between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the agency that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-25538-7 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-25538-4 Cover: The cover depicts three aircraft. The upper two are potential future aircraft designs. At lower left is the X-15, which was flown by Neil Armstrong seven times, once to over 207,000 feet. Design by Tim Warchocki. Copies of this report are available free of charge from: Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board National Research Council 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2012 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sci- ences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of emi- nent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is admin- istered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.nationalacademies.org
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OTHER RECENT REPORTS OF THE AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD NASA Space Technology Roadmaps and Priorities: Restoring NASA's Technological Edge and Paving the Way for a New Era in Space (Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board [ASEB], 2012) An Interim Report on NASA's Draft Space Technology Roadmaps (ASEB, 2011) Limiting Future Collision Risk to Spacecraft: An Assessment of NASA's Meteoroid and Orbital Debris Programs (ASEB, 2011) Preparing for the High Frontier--the Role and Training of NASA Astronauts in the Post-Space Shuttle Era (ASEB, 2011) Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration: Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era (Space Studies Board [SSB] with ASEB, 2011) Summary of the Workshop to Identify Gaps and Possible Directions for NASA's Meteoroid and Orbital Debris Pro- grams (ASEB, 2011) Advancing Aeronautical Safety: A Review of NASA's Aviation Safety-Related Research Programs (ASEB, 2010) Capabilities for the Future: An Assessment of NASA Laboratories for Basic Research (Laboratory Assessments Board with ASEB, 2010) Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth-Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies: Final Report (SSB with ASEB, 2010) Final Report of the Committee to Review Proposals to the 2010 Ohio Third Frontier (OTF) Wright Projects Program (WPP) (ASEB, 2010) America's Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs (SSB with ASEB, 2009) Approaches to Future Space Cooperation and Competition in a Globalizing World: Summary of a Workshop (SSB with ASEB, 2009) An Assessment of NASA's National Aviation Operations Monitoring Service (ASEB, 2009) Final Report of the Committee for the Review of Proposals to the 2009 Engineering and Physical Science Research and Commercialization Program of the Ohio Third Frontier Program (ASEB, 2009) Fostering Visions for the Future: A Review of the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (ASEB, 2009) Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies: Interim Report (SSB with ASEB, 2009) Radioisotope Power Systems: An Imperative for Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Space Exploration (SSB with ASEB, 2009) Assessing the Research and Development Plan for the Next Generation Air Transportation System: Summary of a Workshop (ASEB, 2008) A Constrained Space Exploration Technology Program: A Review of NASA's Exploration Technology Development Program (ASEB, 2008) Final Report of the Committee for the Review of Proposals to the 2008 Engineering Research and Commercialization Program of the Ohio Third Frontier Program (ASEB, 2008) Final Report of the Committee to Review Proposals to the 2008 Ohio Research Scholars Program of the State of Ohio (ASEB, 2008) Launching Science: Science Opportunities Provided by NASA's Constellation System (SSB with ASEB, 2008) Managing Space Radiation Risk in the New Era of Space Exploration (ASEB, 2008) NASA Aeronautics Research: An Assessment (ASEB, 2008) Review of NASA's Exploration Technology Development Program: An Interim Report (ASEB, 2008) Science Opportunities Enabled by NASA's Constellation System: Interim Report (SSB with ASEB, 2008) United States Civil Space Policy: Summary of a Workshop (SSB with ASEB, 2008) Wake Turbulence: An Obstacle to Increased Air Traffic Capacity (ASEB, 2008) Limited copies of ASEB reports are available free of charge from Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board National Research Council The Keck Center of the National Academies 500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001 (202) firstname.lastname@example.org www.nationalacademies.org/aseb.html
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COMMITTEE TO ASSESS NASA'S AERONAUTICS FLIGHT RESEARCH CAPABILITIES WESLEY L. HARRIS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chair MARK ANDERSON, Boeing Research and Technology NEIL A. ARMSTRONG, EDO Corporation EDWARD L. BURNETT, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company INDERJIT CHOPRA, University of Maryland RICHARD S. CHRISTIANSEN, Sierra Lobo, Inc. ROBERT A. COWART, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation JOHN B. HAYHURST, The Boeing Company (retired) TIMOTHY LIEUWEN, Georgia Institute of Technology RONALD F. PROBSTEIN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology ELI RESHOTKO, Case Western Reserve University ROGERS E. SMITH, Consultant; NASA (retired) JOHN TYLKO, Aurora Flight Sciences RANDY VOLAND, ACENT Laboratories LLC DEBORAH D. WHITIS, General Electric Aviation Staff DWAYNE A. DAY, Senior Program Officer, Study Director CATHERINE A. GRUBER, Editor AMANDA R. THIBAULT, Research Associate TERRI BAKER, Program Associate DANIELLE PISKORZ, Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Intern MICHAEL H. MOLONEY, Director, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board v
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AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD LESTER L. LYLES, The Lyles Group, Chair ELLA M. ATKINS, University of Michigan AMY L. BUHRIG, The Boeing Company INDERJIT CHOPRA, University of Maryland, College Park JOHN-PAUL B. CLARKE, Georgia Institute of Technology RAVI B. DEO, EMBR VIJAY K. DHIR, University of California, Los Angeles EARL H. DOWELL, Duke University MICA R. ENDSLEY, SA Technologies DAVID GOLDSTON, Natural Resources Defense Council R. JOHN HANSMAN, JR., Massachusetts Institute of Technology JOHN B. HAYHURST, The Boeing Company (retired) WILLIAM L. JOHNSON, California Institute of Technology RICHARD KOHRS, Independent Consultant, Dickinson, Texas IVETT LEYVA, Air Force Research Laboratory, Edwards Air Force Base ELAINE S. ORAN, Naval Research Laboratory ALAN G. POINDEXTER, Naval Postgraduate School HELEN L. REED, Texas A&M University ELI RESHOTKO, Case Western Reserve University EDMOND SOLIDAY, United Airlines (retired) Staff MICHAEL H. MOLONEY, Director CARMELA J. CHAMBERLAIN, Administrative Coordinator TANJA PILZAK, Manager, Program Operations CELESTE A. NAYLOR, Information Management Associate CHRISTINA O. SHIPMAN, Financial Officer SANDRA WILSON, Financial Assistant vi
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Preface As a result of discussions between NASA Associate Administrator for Aeronautics Jaiwon Shin and Aeronau- tics and Space Engineering Board Chair Ray Colladay, the National Research Council formed the Committee to Assess NASA's Flight Research Capabilities in early 2011. The committee's task was to: Perform a study to assess and make recommendations about how best to integrate flight research into the current Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate's (ARMD) fundamental research activities and integrated systems research activities. In conducting the study and preparing its report the committee will undertake the following tasks: · Within the set of goals and challenges being addressed by NASA's Aeronautics Research program, identify those challenges where research program success can be achieved most effectively through flight research (in addi- tion to, or as opposed to, other analytical or experimental approaches); · Identify any goals and challenges in the NASA Aeronautics program that may be limited due to an anticipated lack of available flight research capability; · Review the current portfolio of ARMD flight research activities and the flight research needs of ARMD's aeronautics program, and identify programmatic and research requirements gaps; · Review the capabilities and limitations of the current fleet of NASA aeronautics research aircraft in terms of their ability to meet the above requirements and gaps; · Consider how the research opportunities might be pursued in an economical, affordable, and technically rigorous way (for example, by partnering with the NASA Science Mission Directorate, other U.S. government agen- cies and departments, industry, the National Research Council of Canada (NRCC), and other international partners); and · Recommend how NASA might maintain a robust flight research program within defined budget scenarios. The scope of this assessment includes all ARMD research, including where/how future flight testing can add value to aeronautics research, vehicle and vehicle subsystem/component technologies, next generation air traffic management (NextGen) technologies and technologies related to the safety of flight. The study should consider (1) the role of X-planes and/or demonstrator vehicles in aeronautics research and their potential to reduce the risks associated with technology maturation, performance, and deployment or insertion into flight vehicles and (2) the potential benefit of using unclassified flight research testbeds owned by other government agencies, industry, academia, and elsewhere. The budget scenarios for the committee's recommendations should include options such as a baseline scenario that is bounded by the current ARMD budget outlook, an augmented scenario that represents a frugal approach to flight experimentation that meets programmatic goals but one that is not necessarily constrained by the present budget vii
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viii PREFACE outlook, and a scenario that is unconstrained by the present budget outlook. It should also include a recommendation on the core components of a well-balanced (see Task 1), effective NASA Aeronautics program. The 14-member committee met three times: in Edwards, California, on April 20-22, 2011, and in Washington, D.C., on June 13-15, 2011, and on August 30-September 1, 2011. In addition, individual members of the com- mittee also met with NASA officials at the NASA Ames Research Center and with an Air Force official from the Air Force Propulsion Research Laboratory. At these meetings, the committee gathered information on the current research program and discussed recommendations for future research programs. The committee was assisted by presentations and information provided by a number of current and former NASA officials as well as representatives of the U.S. Air Force. In addition to these officials, the committee heard from Stewart Baillie of the National Research Council Canada; Marla Oliver Brieger of the German Aerospace Center, DLR; John Langford of Aurora Flight Sciences; and Dennis O'Donoghue of Boeing. The committee also heard from a panel of seven engineers at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Corporation's Palmdale facility. The com- mittee expresses its gratitude to those who generously provided information.
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Acknowledgment of Reviewers This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council's (NRC's) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional stan- dards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Ella M. Atkins, University of Michigan, John-Paul B. Clarke, Georgia Institute of Technology, Eugene W. Covert, USAF (retired); MIT (emeritus), Kenneth M. Ford, Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, John Hansman, Jr., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Preston A. Henne, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, John S. Langford, Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation, and Mark Lewis, University of Maryland. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse any conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Robert A. Frosch, Harvard University. Appointed by the NRC, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. ix
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Contents SUMMARY 1 1 NASA'S AERONAUTICS RESEARCH MISSION DIRECTORATE--WHY FLIGHT RESEARCH? 7 The Origins of Aeronautics Research, 12 Summary and Recommendation, 24 2 FOCUS FOR ARMD--CASE STUDIES 26 The Environmentally Responsible Aviation Project, 27 The Supersonics Research Project, 32 The Hypersonics Research Project, 37 Common Issues in the Case Studies, 42 3 ORGANIZATION, COLLABORATION, AND COMMUNICATION--A WAY FORWARD 46 Impediments to Progress, 47 Conducting Flight Research Worthy of the Collier Trophy, 50 Achieving Innovation in Flight Research, 51 Building Teams for Leveraging Flight Research Programs, 54 Collaboration with Industry and Universities, 54 Potential Areas of NASA Research Beneficial to Industry, 58 Inspiring the Next Generation, 60 Findings and Recommendations, 62 APPENDIXES A NASA Aircraft Assets 67 B NASA's Aeronautics Programs 75 C Acronyms and Glossary 83 D Committee and Staff Biographical Information 85 xi
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Dedicated to Neil A. Armstrong Aviator, educator, and pioneer in aeronautics 1930-2012
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