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FutureFlight Central (FFC)

View of airport from FutureFlight Central (FFC) virtual air traffic control tower.

NASA’s FutureFlight Central (FFC) is a national Air Traffic Control / Air Traffic Management (ATC / ATM) simulation facility dedicated to solving the present and emerging capacity problems of the nation’s airspace. The two-story facility offers a 360-degree full-scale, real-time simulation of an airport, where controllers, pilots, and airport personnel participate to optimize expansion plans, operating procedures, and evaluate new technologies. The facility has established a precedent for enabling stakeholders to achieve consensus through a common vision of the future. The environment at FFC provides a stable platform from which new requirements can be derived, offering pilots and controllers an opportunity to evaluate changes at any airport.

The sophisticated capabilities of FFC allow it to be used as a visualization tool, going beyond airport and air traffic control simulations. For example, FFC possesses a Mars database and could be used as a simulated control center for directing future Mars-based robotic missions. FFC can also be used as an “eye in the sky,” depicting, for instance, spacecraft operations in the vicinity of the International Space Station. For simulations where it is advantageous to visualize scenarios using a three-dimensional, 360-degree format, FFC is the tool of choice.

Screenshot from a simulation showing a UAM vehicle flying above buildings and roads of San Francisco.
Image from an Urban Air Mobility simulation of an approach to a San Francisco vertiport in the Ames Vertical Motion Simulator at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California.