Current trends indicate the significant increase in National Airspace System (NAS) flight congestion and delays. The Airspace Concepts Evaluation System (ACES) provides a NAS modeling and simulation environment capable of assessing the impact of new NAS concepts, technologies, and simulation architecture. ACES fully supports the ability of the modeling and simulation system to incorporate new capabilities required to assess proposed advanced air traffic modeling (ATM) concepts and technologies.

The Airspace Concepts Evaluation System can output aircraft states such as position and velocity as a function of time.
ACES provides a simulation framework with plug-in capability that allows new and existing modeling and simulation tools and facilities to be incorporated. It is a distributed gate-to-gate air traffic modeling and simulation system. The infrastructure enables execution across multiple computers for improved processing speed, and provides standard features such as data collection and batch-run support. The plug-in architecture of ACES permits external systems to interact with it during simulation.

ACES consists of a toolbox of models and an infrastructure component that runs the simulation models. It works by replicating the interplay of the thousands of individual entities involved in the air traffic system. ACES contains representations of air route traffic control centers (ARTCC), terminal radar approach controls (TRACON), airports, flights, and airlines. Distinct models represent terminal areas, en-route airspace, sectors, the system command center, weather, and wind.

ACES simulates flight trajectories using Base of Aircraft Data (BADA) aircraft models and Aircraft Situation Display to Industry (ASDI) flight-plan data. What distinguishes ACES from other modeling and simulation systems is the ability to maneuver aircraft to comply with airport and airspace capacity constraints. Flights can be held on the ground, vectored, slowed, or placed in a holding pattern for complying with these constraints.

Typical ACES outputs include aircraft state such as position and velocity as a function of time, and system performance metrics such as arrival, departure, en-route, and total delays.

This work was done by Karlin Roth of Ames Research Center, Pauline Froemberg of Raytheon, Matthew Blake of Seagull Technology, Vikram Manikonda of Intelligent Automation, and Jesse Aronson of Science Applications International Corp. NASA invites companies to inquire about partnering opportunities. Contact the Ames Technology Partnerships Office at 1-855-627-2249 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Refer to ARC-15068-1.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the November, 2014 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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