Educator Features

NASA Aeronautics Blueprint
12.01.03
The NASA Aeronautics Blueprint -- A Technology Vision for Aviation

Screen capture of the Aeronautics Blueprint Web site
NASA's Blueprint for Aeronautics Web page

The Blueprint for Aeronautics is a product of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It primarily addresses the challenges that confronted aviation in the United States before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Safety and security have taken on a whole new perspective since that event, and technology solutions are presented in this Aeronautics Blueprint. We also recognize that the issues that were facing air travel prior to September 11 will return and require innovative technology solutions. The Blueprint addresses how new technologies can be brought to bear on these issues. Most interesting is the finding that these technologies can do more than resolve existing issues; they have the potential to open a whole new era in aviation and provide new opportunities in air transportation safety and efficiency, national defense, economic growth, and quality of life.

The National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 directs that Government-sponsored aeronautical activities be conducted to contribute materially to specific objectives, including the following:

  • improvement of the usefulness, performance, speed, safety, and efficiency of aeronautical... vehicles;

  • long-range studies of... the problems involved in the utilization of aeronautical... activities for peaceful... purposes; and

  • preservation of the role of the United States as a leader in aeronautical... technology.
In executing this charter, NASA must work closely and partner with the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), academia, and industry to ensure that the research that NASA pursues finds it way into useful and timely products and processes.

Many of these stakeholders in areas of aeronautics and aviation were invited to offer their perspectives at various points throughout the preparation of this Blueprint -- and they did so in a very significant way. One of the foremost recommendations in terms of next steps is to establish a more fully coordinated national strategy.

It is clear from our discussions that a consensus exists on the issues that need to be addressed, and there is agreement that technology is a significant component of the solutions. The Aeronautics Blueprint describes these issues and puts forth a vision of the technology advances that will change aviation. It does so with the understanding that the combined efforts of NASA, DoD, DOT, the FAA, academia, and industry will be needed to realize the vision. Action is needed to galvanize the intellectual and organizational resources of these bodies and to set overall goals and priorities. Failure to act risks significant economic and social consequences.

The NASA Aeronautics Blueprint
http://www.aerospace.nasa.gov/aboutus/tf/aero_blueprint/index.html