NASA Picks ATC Software As Its Best

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Software originally designed for computer simulations has become an important tool for air traffic control centers to predict and manage the flow of aircraft traffic. Therefore NASA has declared its Future Air traffic management Concepts Evaluation Tool (FACET) the Software of the Year. The software crunches air traffic and weather data across the country and can predict the trajectories of aircraft, including climb, cruise and descent phases. It enables a single computer to track 15,000 flights and tell controllers when and how each is going to get to its destination. Its core technology is now use by 100 ATC centers and has been commercially licensed to Flight Explorer. "FACET started out as a simulation tool for NASA research and has evolved into an operations planning tool for the FAA and airlines," said NASA's Banavar Sridhar, FACET team lead at the Ames Research Center at Moffet Field, Calif. FACET is among the programs under development at Ames to help modernize the National Airspace System. The Software of the Year award is chosen from nominees from all of NASA's research centers and general usability (including patentability and licensing potential) is a key factor in picking the winner.