Lori J. Rachul
NASA Lewis Research Center
SPACE FLIGHT, AVIATION PROGRAMS RECEIVE NASA SOFTWARE AWARD
NASA has chosen a computer program designed to remotely control Space Station experiments through the Internet and one designed to improve air traffic control as winners of the Agency's 1998 Software of the Year Award.
Lee B. Holcomb, NASA Chief Information Officer, and Dr. Daniel R. Mulville, NASA Chief Engineer and Chair of NASA's Inventions and Contributions Board, selected the winners. The award is given annually by the Inventions and Contributions Board to NASA developed software that has significantly enhanced the Agency's performance of its mission and helped American industry maintain its world-class technology status.
One program, called Tempest, was originally developed to support the science experiments on the International Space Station. The commercial quality software is fully documented, installs simply and uses standard World Wide Web browsers to let users operate the experiments. Tempest is considered to be breakthrough and enabling technology, which has spawned new markets and will continue to do so. A study performed for NASA estimated that an extensive commercial market is likely to develop for Web-embedded remote control mechanisms, especially in the automotive, consumer electronics, office products and medical industries.
The second winner, Center TRACON Automation System Software, is a set of three software tools for managing air traffic control systems at major airports. Designed to optimize flight operations, the software analyzes and predicts aircraft paths, creating visual representations of the flow of arriving traffic. It also provides controllers up-to-the second advisories of information to pass on to pilots that will reduce time between landings to the minimum possible.
The software has been integrated into the existing radar system at Dallas/Ft. Worth airport. Software displays in the control room supplement the manual air traffic control system. Use of the program saves an average of two minutes per flight, in turn saving money for the airlines and passengers. The Federal Aviation Administration has chosen Center TRACON for immediate implementation into all major airports and estimated its use could save airports as much as $800 million annually.
NASA will grant the awards at a special ceremony at the Technology 2008 Conference to be held in Boston, MA on Nov. 3-5, 1998. The list of winners can be found on the Internet at the URL:
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