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NASA has developed a new strategic vision for its aeronautics programs that is the culmination of a multi-year effort. Inputs were gathered from industry and other government agencies, including systems analyses of environmental and market trends, and the identification of societal mega-drivers.

The consensus: NASA can best contribute to the nation’s future societal and economic vitality by focusing aeronautics research in six thrust areas that are responsive to a growing demand for mobility, challenges to the sustainability of energy and the environment, and technology advances in information, communications and automation.

The six areas are:

  1. Assured autonomy for aviation transformation
  2. Innovation in commercial supersonic aircraft
  3. Ultra-efficient commercial vehicles
  4. Transition to low-carbon propulsion
  5. Real-time system safety assurance
  6. Safe, efficient growth in global operations

To most effectively manage the research needed to address these six areas, NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate has restructured itself. Three mission programs – the Airspace Operations and Safety Program, the Advanced Air Vehicles Program, and the Integrated Aviation Systems Program – will address the first goal: to clearly define the most compelling technical challenges facing the aviation industry, and retire these challenges in a time frame that is supported by the stakeholders and required by NASA’s customers.

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