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Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Aeronautics: Breakthrough Technologies to Meet Future Air and Space Transportation Needs and Goals 1 Introduction EVOLUTION OF THE 10 AERONAUTICS AND SPACE TRANSPORTATION TECHNOLOGY GOALS The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has developed 10 goals for the application of technology to air and space transportation (see Box 1-1). These goals were developed through a strategic planning process that involved a number of sources of information. The National Science and Technology Council's Aeronautics Goals In 1995, the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) released a report calling for action to ensure that the United States maintains a strong and competitive aeronautics industry (NSTC, 1995). This report was the third in a series of reports released by the Executive Office of the President calling for the pursuit of national goals in aeronautics research and technology by government, industry, and academia (OSTP, 1985, 1987). The three specific goals discussed in the 1995 report are listed below: maintain the superiority of U.S. aircraft and engines improve the safety, efficiency, and cost effectiveness of the global air transportation system ensure the long-term environmental compatibility of the aviation system NASA's Strategic Planning in Response to the NSTC Goals After the release the 1995 NSTC report, NASA, which is chartered by the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 in part to ''preserve the role of the United States as a leader in aeronautical science and technology and the application thereof," initiated a strategic planning process in response to the three goals. The preliminary plan, released by the NASA Office of Aeronautics in 1995, attempted to characterize aviation in the year 2020 and described several types of aerospace systems and technologies that might be in use (NASA, 1995). However, this was only a preliminary vision based on the judgments of NASA aeronautical experts who extrapolated current trends in aviation and aeronautics.
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Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Aeronautics: Breakthrough Technologies to Meet Future Air and Space Transportation Needs and Goals BOX 1-1 NASA's Three Pillars and Ten Enabling Technology Goals to Achieve National Priorities in Aeronautics and Space Transportation Pillar One: Global Civil Aviation Goal 1: Reduce emissions of future aircraft by a factor of three within 10 years and by a factor of five within 20 years. Goal 2: Reduce the perceived noise levels of future aircraft by a factor of two from today's subsonic aircraft within 10 years and by a factor of four within 20 years. Goal 3: Reduce the aircraft accident rate by a factor of five within 10 years and by a factor of 10 within 20 years. Goal 4: While maintaining safety, triple the aviation system throughput, in all weather conditions, within 10 years. Goal 5: Reduce the cost of air travel by 25 percent within 10 years and by 50 percent within 20 years. Pillar Two: Revolutionary Technology Leaps Goal 6: Provide next-generation design tools and experimental aircraft to increase design confidence and cut the development cycle time for aircraft in half. Goal 7: Invigorate the general aviation industry, delivering 10,000 aircraft annually within 10 years and 20,000 aircraft annually within 20 years. Goal 8: Reduce the travel time to the Far East and Europe by 50 percent within 20 years and do so at today's subsonic ticket prices. Pillar Three: Access to Space Goal 9: Reduce the payload cost to low-Earth orbit by an order of magnitude, from $10,000 to $1,000 per pound, within 10 years. Goal 10: Reduce the payload cost to low-Earth orbit by an additional order of magnitude, from $1,000's to $100's per pound, by 2020.
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Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Aeronautics: Breakthrough Technologies to Meet Future Air and Space Transportation Needs and Goals Scenario-Based Strategic Planning Workshop Recognizing that a long-term strategic plan for aeronautics requires a broad-based national perspective that includes the needs of users and consumers of aerospace products, the NASA Office of Aeronautics asked the National Research Council (NRC) to conduct a workshop that would bring together experts from industry, government, and academia to analyze a number of scenarios for aeronautics 15 to 25 years hence. A steering committee was formed under the auspices of the NRC Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board to plan, organize, and conduct the workshop and report on its conclusions. This constituted phase 1 of the current study. The results of the workshop, which analyzed five future world scenarios developed in collaboration with a core team of individuals from the NASA Office of Aeronautics, The Futures Group, and the Systems Technology Group of Science Applications International Corporation, were summarized in Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Aeronautics: Scenario-Based Strategic Planning for NASA's Aeronautics Enterprise (NRC, 1997). 1 The five scenarios used at the workshop, based on variations of four socioeconomic dimensions, are summarized in Figure 1-1.2 FIGURE 1-1 The five scenarios and four dimensions. Note: U.S. economic competitiveness is the relative share of internationally traded products and services in the world economy (strong or weak). Worldwide demand for aeronautics products and services is the level of demand for aeronautics products and services related to civil, military, and access to space applications in local, regional, and global markets (high growth and low growth). Threats to global security and/or quality of life are direct threats to the health and safety of people and/or the stability and viability of governments and their implications for the United States (high or low threat). Global trend in government participation in society is the tendency of government to regulate and/or intervene in key aspects of society and the economy (high or low). 1 This report can be viewed on the following world wide web site: http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/records/0309056969.html 2 Altering four dimensions with two values each creates a total of 16 possible scenarios. Five of the scenarios were selected by the steering committee, the core team, and the senior leaders in NASA's aeronautics enterprise for further analysis at the workshop.
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Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Aeronautics: Breakthrough Technologies to Meet Future Air and Space Transportation Needs and Goals Participants in the NRC workshop were divided into five working groups, or "world teams," that "lived" in one of the five worlds for the duration of the workshop in order to develop a comprehensive view of the role of aeronautics and space transportation technology in that scenario.3 An iterative round-robin process was also used to assess the applicability of various technology categories to multiple scenarios. The final list of aerospace technology needs and opportunities is summarized in Table 1-1. TABLE 1-1 Robust, Significant, and Noteworthy Needs and Opportunities ROBUST Common to all scenarios SIGNIFICANT Less common but vital to some scenarios NOTEWORTHY Specialized and unique Air Traffic Management satellite-based, autonomous, tailored Access to Space small payloads, low cost, on demand Short-to-Medium Range Aircraft V/STOL, commuter, infrastructure independent, military special operations Airport Infrastructure constrained, austere, tailored Supersonic Aircraft long range, large, and low capacity Stealth Aircraft evade terrorist threats, quiet over populated areas Safety/Survivability significant accident reduction, survive natural and man-made threats Subsonic Aircraft large, small, long and short range General Aviation increased activity, part of a customer-tailored air transportation system Manufacturing agile, virtual, validation, certification Air Cargo large, low-cost, specialized, and reconfigurable aircraft Tailored and Smart Materials reduced fuel consumption and enhanced safety Uninhabited Air Vehicles weapons, surveillance, intelligence Microelectro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) reduced fuel consumption and vehicle size Environment noise, emissions, hydrogen fuels Sonic Boom Mitigation enable supersonic flight over populated areas Security Systems airport, aircraft, terrorist threat Vertical/Short Takeoff and Landing (V/STOL) Aircraft short, medium, and long range, stealth, infrastructure independent, military special operations Skilled Training and Education distributed and tailored training 3 Prior to the NRC workshop, but after the initiation of the study, NASA requested that access to space also be considered by the workshop's participants to reflect organizational restructuring that placed space transportation technology development in the Office of Aeronautics. The organization was subsequently renamed the Office of Aeronautics and Space Transportation Technology.
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Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Aeronautics: Breakthrough Technologies to Meet Future Air and Space Transportation Needs and Goals Parallel NASA Activities Leading to the 10 Goals The results of the NRC's scenario-based strategic planning workshop were carefully scrutinized during a two week workshop sponsored by NASA and attended by representatives of the Office of Aeronautics and Space Transportation Technology and the NASA centers responsible for aeronautics research and technology development. This workshop selected a number of goals applicable to air and space transportation technology, which were then reviewed by members of the aerospace industry and the NASA administrator, leading to the final selection of 10 goals under three pillars shown in Box 1-1. Other parallel activities related to air and space transportation, such as the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security (the Gore Commission), also influenced the final selection and wording of the goals (Gore, 1997).4 The brochure, "The Three Pillars of Success for Aviation and Space Transportation in the 21st Century" (NASA, 1997), describing the 10 aeronautics and space transportation goals was released to the public during a speech by NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin on March 20, 1997, in Washington, D.C. THIS STUDY Statement of Task After the completion of the NRC report, Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Aeronautics: Scenario-Based Strategic Planning for NASA's Aeronautics Enterprise (NRC, 1997), the NASA Office of Aeronautics and Space Transportation Technology requested that the NRC continue to guide the agency's strategic planning process by conducting a study to identify a short list of revolutionary, or breakthrough, technologies that could be critical to the 20 to 25 year future of aeronautics and space transportation, based primarily on the areas of need and opportunity identified in the Phase I study. These technologies should represent high risk, but potentially very high payoff, investments that would be appropriate components of NASA's advanced basic research and development (R&D) program (see Appendix A). The study would examine NASA's long-term aeronautics and space transportation R&D goals, which have since been published in the brochure, "Aeronautics & Space Transportation Technology: Three Pillars for Success" (NASA, 1997). Study Approach A committee was formed to undertake the study under the auspices of the NRC Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board during the summer of 1997. Appendix B contains brief biographies of the committee members. At the first meeting, held on 4 Personal communication from Robert Pearce, NASA Office of Aeronautics and Space Transportation Technology, March 4, 1998.
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Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Aeronautics: Breakthrough Technologies to Meet Future Air and Space Transportation Needs and Goals September 15 and 16, 1997, the committee familiarized itself with the results of the first phase of the study (NRC, 1997). NASA representatives also provided the committee with an overview of the Aeronautics and Space Transportation Enterprise and the strategic planning process used to develop its R&D portfolio. The committee or smaller working groups held five additional meetings to visit the NASA centers included in the aeronautics enterprise and to be briefed by members of the aerospace and air transportation community in government, industry, and academia (see Appendix C). The committee also solicited information related to potential breakthrough technologies by creating a web page linked to the internet home page of the ASEB. This home page displayed a letter inviting interested members of the science and engineering community to share their ideas with the committee. Letters were also made available to the attendees of the World Aviation Congress held in Anaheim, California, on October 13 to 16, 1997, and were sent to each invited participant of the scenario-based strategic planning workshop. In addition, invitations to provide information to the committee were sent to each member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in the October 1997 monthly letter from the NAE president to all members. Workshop on Breakthrough Aerospace Technologies After gathering information and collecting ideas from a broad cross section of the aerospace community, the committee organized and conducted a Breakthrough Aerospace Technologies Workshop, held on February 19 and 20, 1998, in Washington, D.C. Twenty-two individuals from government, industry, and academia (see Appendix E) attended the workshop, which had two objectives: to provide the committee with additional input; and to help the committee make an initial assessment of the technologies and concepts that had been compiled during the previous five months (see Appendix D). The following assessment criteria were developed for identifying potential breakthrough technologies: The technology will enable future aerospace systems and could potentially lead to the accomplishment of one or more of the 10 aeronautics and space transportation technology goals. The technology is not fully mature. Additional research, development, integration, or validation and verification (V&V) will be required before it can be adopted in commercial aerospace systems. The technology has potential commercial viability in terms of lowering operating costs and does not present significant implementation problems. The development or integration of the technology would be appropriate for NASA's programs. No extensive development of the technology is under way by non-NASA organizations, and the technology is within NASA's charter to "preserve the role of
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Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Aeronautics: Breakthrough Technologies to Meet Future Air and Space Transportation Needs and Goals the United States as a leader in aeronautical science and technology and the application thereof."5 The list of technologies developed by the workshop was further refined by several subgroups of the committee. Chapters 2 through 5 are based on the final list. Further deliberations took place at the committee's final meeting on March 23, 1998, and continued until the report entered the formal NRC review process on July 28, 1998. The final deliberations focused on the selection of a short list of breakthrough technologies to recommend to NASA as high priorities that could lead to the eventual achievement of the aeronautic and space transportation technology goals. The list is presented in Chapter 6. REFERENCES Gore, Al. 1997. Final report to President Clinton, White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security, February 12, 1997. Washington, D.C.: Office of the Vice President of the United States. NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration). 1995. Achieving Aeronautics Leadership: Aeronautics Strategic Enterprise Plan, 1995–2000. Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA. 1997. Aeronautics and Space Transportation Technology: Three Pillars for Success. Office of Aeronautics and Space Transportation Technology, Alliance Development Office. Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NRC (National Research Council). 1997. Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Aeronautics: Scenario-Based Strategic Planning for NASA's Aeronautics Enterprise. Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, Steering Committee for a Workshop to Develop Long-Term Global Aeronautics Scenarios. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. NSTC (National Science and Technology Council). 1995. Goals for a National Partnership in Aeronautics Research and Technology. Executive Office of the President, Office of Science and Technology Policy. Washington, D.C.: National Science and Technology Council. OSTP (Office of Science and Technology Policy). 1985. National Aeronautical R&D Goals: Technology for America's Future. Executive Office of the President. Washington, D.C.: Office of Science and Technology Policy. OSTP. 1987. National Aeronautical R&D Goals: Agenda for Achievement. Executive Office of the President. Washington, D.C.: Office of Science and Technology Policy. 5 National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958.
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