NASA releases initial concept of operations for high altitude airspace traffic management

US National Aeronautical Space Agency (NASA) Aeronautics Research Institute (NARI) has released an initial concept of operations (ConOps V1) and associated operational requirements for cooperative air traffic management in High Altitude Airspace (Upper E) Traffic Management (ETM). Three documents are available for download from NARI and reflect close collaboration between the FAA, industry and NASA. The institute hosted a tabletop exercise in December 2019 to better understand all of the diverse operational considerations of the stakeholders represented. The programme focused on three areas:

  • Transitioning to and from Upper Class E airspace,
  • operations that straddle Class A and Upper E airspace, and
  • handling of off-nominal situations.

Work is continuing to see how Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) can help inform safe operations for FL600 and above. The initial concept of operations includes cooperative digital technology, intent sharing and service-oriented architecture.

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