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Effects of future space vehicle operations on a single day in the National Airspace System : a fast-time computer simulation.
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    This document describes the objectives, methods, analyses, and results of a study used to quantify the effects of future space operations on the National Airspace System (NAS), and to demonstrate the possible benefits of one proposed strategy to minimize these impacts. The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Concept Analysis Branch used fast-time computer simulation to identify changes to flight delay, flight distance, fuel burn, and sector throughput caused by increased space vehicle (SV) operations forecasted for 2018 and 2025. Researchers then collaborated with Stanford University to run additional scenarios demonstrating the potential benefits of using dynamic airspace closures designed by the university’s Aerospace Design Lab. Results will be used to support the Space Vehicle Operations (SVO) program in defining the problem statement and requirements for procedural and automation changes in the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). Two sets of fast-time simulation scenarios were run to quantify changes in NAS efficiency and capacity metrics. The first set of scenarios simulated future traffic and SV operations using current air traffic control procedures, while the second set of scenarios simulated a proposed procedural change using Stanford’s 4D Compact Envelopes. Each set of simulated scenarios varied two factors: forecasted traffic year and level of SV operations. NAS traffic levels forecasted for 2018 and 2025 in the Terminal Area Forecast (TAF) were simulated to capture changes in NAS performance with increased amounts of traffic. Researchers from the FAA’s Concept Analysis Branch and Stanford University worked with the SVO program lead to define three levels of SV operations in 2018 and 2025 based on predictions made by the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation. SV operation levels of low, medium and high were simulated for each forecasted traffic year; this variability was included to account for the uncertainty of the commercial space industry’s future success and demand.
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