Atmosphere recognized for interval management research


Telemetry and mission management software company Atmosphere has received an award from NASA for its work on developing interval management with Boeing.

Interval management is a way for air traffic controllers to more precisely manage the space between aircraft, so they fly closer together. The technique uses ADS-B, a new positioning technology that uses satellite navigation to track and broadcast the position of aircraft during flights.

Atmosphere, which is based in Toulouse, France participated in NASA’s Air Traffic Management (ATM) Technology Demonstration 1 project (ATD-1) through the use of its Planet software. Planet enables data to be exchanged on terrestrial and satellite networks and can be used for tracking flights, the health monitoring of aircraft and telemetry.

The research project was led by Boeing Research and also involved Honeywell, united Airlines and Jeppesen.

The system developed and tested for ATD-1 transmitted ADS-B data from three test aircraft and all surrounding aircraft, creating a real-time display of aircraft position, all relevant information about that aircraft, location of airspace and route structures, as well as weather and wind conditions.

The Planet software was used by the flight test director, during flight testing to coordinate the correct sequence of test runs between the three aircraft and the air traffic control facilities.

Brian Baxley, the NASA Principal Investigator of the experiment said, “Without the real-time and constant traffic and situation awareness that Planet provided, the flight test director could not have conducted the flight test in the safe and efficient manner that it was.”

The display from the Planet software was also used aboard all three aircraft by flight crew and researchers, and in the flight test coordination room at the Boeing Commercial Aircraft facility on the ground. Additionally, it was used by observers at NASA Langley and Ames Research Centers, as well as the NASA and FAA Headquarters during the two-month flight test campaign.

The three test aircraft

The three test aircraft (Image: NASA)

Jean Marc Gaubert, CEO of Atmosphere, said, “Interval management is one of the ways technology is being used to make air transport more efficient and is going to become essential as the number of aircraft flying increases.

“ATD-1 was an important project and it is a real honour to be recognised by NASA for our contribution. The Ground Achievement Award is fully in line with Atmosphere’s team spirit, and we are happy to share this honour with major players like Honeywell, Boeing, and United Airlines.”



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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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