JUN 25, 2015 2:24 PM PDT

NASA's Next-gen Air Traffic Control System Will Vastly Improve US Air Travel

WRITTEN BY: Andrew J. Dunlop
For years air traffic controllers and pilots have been complaining that the United States has been using an antiquated air traffic control system that has barely changed since the 1960's. It's a valid complaint, and for years America's outdated air control system has been taking its toll, in terms of accidents and near accidents, the environment, in terms of wasted jet fuel as jets circle airports in holding patterns, and most noticeably to travelers, in terms of long delays for both arriving and departing fights. But, now, after decades of well-deserved criticism, the FAA is finally deploying a new air traffic control system developed by NASA called TSAS, a major upgrade that will address these concerns drastically improve air traffic management nationwide.

TSAS formerly called TSS will vastly streamline air travel.


The new TSAS system which stands for Terminal Sequencing And Spacing will be of major benefit to everyone involved in air travel from those who work in the industry to the general public. Up to this point much of the work done by air traffic controllers has been done literally by hand, in terms of keeping track of where the planes in their airspace are, when and where they can take off, when and where they can land, and when and where they have to remain circling the airport, waiting for spaces to open up on the runway and in the landing pattern. This has led to conditions that can go from intensely tedious to extremely stressful in a heartbeat. TSAS will take allow airports and pilots to start taking much fuller advantage of an important, but not all that well publicized change to the nation's air traffic control system that began back in 2010: switching from radar to GPS as the main tool for keeping track of planes in the air.



GPS is thirty times more accurate in terms of tracking planes than radar, which is a major step forward, but It also laid the foundation for so much more. TSAS will unlock a whole suite of capabilities inherent to a GPS system, but which weren't accessible to pilots and air traffic controllers until the new system's roll-out. It will enable pilots to use much more of their flight decks' automated capabilities, allowing pilots to hand over to the planes' computers many of the numerous, monotonous, small but crucial tasks, allowing pilots to devote more of their attention to flying their planes. TASA will also help pilots streamline the glide paths planes take as they are landing. TSAS will also enable air traffic controllers to automate many of the procedures and communications with flight crews they're now responsible for, easing their workload and allowing them to concentrate more on managing the planes in their airspace. These changes will, in turn, vastly benefit the general public by reducing emissions, noise, air traffic congestion and fuel consumption.

Edward Bolton Jr., assistant administrator for NextGen at the FAA says, "We look forward to seeing many benefits from TSAS. We expect that it will enhance existing technologies that we use to efficiently handle traffic in the airport environment."



(Sources: NASA, phys.org)
About the Author
  • Andrew J. Dunlop lives and writes in a little town near Boston. He's interested in space, the Earth, and the way that humans and other species live on it.
You May Also Like
JUL 30, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Indian Schoolgirls Discover Asteroid Moving Towards Earth
JUL 30, 2020
Indian Schoolgirls Discover Asteroid Moving Towards Earth
During a project sponsored by Space India and NASA, two schoolgirls aged 14 in the 10th grade discovered an asteroid nea ...
AUG 02, 2020
Space & Astronomy
In a Rare Event, Massive Star Disappears Without a Supernova
AUG 02, 2020
In a Rare Event, Massive Star Disappears Without a Supernova
Astronomers were studying a massive star in the Kinman Dwarf Galaxy from 2001 to 2011. When they went back in 2019 to lo ...
AUG 26, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Is a Supernova to Blame for the Devonian Extinction Event?
AUG 26, 2020
Is a Supernova to Blame for the Devonian Extinction Event?
Over the roughly 4.5 billion years of Earth's existence, there have been several periods were biodiversity has been near ...
SEP 08, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Reusable Chinese Space Craft Lands Returns Earth
SEP 08, 2020
Reusable Chinese Space Craft Lands Returns Earth
The Chinese government has announced the safe return of a reusable spacecraft, called Chongfu Shiyong Shiyan Hangtian Qi ...
OCT 21, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Why Some Astronauts Get Blurry Vision After Spaceflight
OCT 21, 2020
Why Some Astronauts Get Blurry Vision After Spaceflight
Researchers from the University of Antwerp in Belgium have found that the fluid surrounding the brain, known as craniosp ...
NOV 14, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Evidence of Supernovae Found in Ancient Tree Rings
NOV 14, 2020
Evidence of Supernovae Found in Ancient Tree Rings
Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have found that the rings in Earth's ancient trees may hold evid ...
Loading Comments...