The FAA continued in its mission to ensure a safe, secure, efficient, and environmentally friendly civil air navigation and commercial space transportation system. During FY 2001, the agency performed and sponsored research and development programs to enhance the effectiveness of its mission; issued regulations and guidelines for better flight standards, operations, and maintenance; and provided equipment and training for a modernized air traffic control system.
In the area of airport safety and pavement technology research, the FAA completed the first set of full-scale trafficking tests at the National Airport Pavement Test Facility during FY 2001.These tests involved subjecting nine test pavements to simulated B-747 and B-777 loading at speeds of 2.5 and 5 mph. The FAA worked closely with the Boeing Company and an international working group in planning these tests. Researchers recorded the pavement response instrumentation data and stored it in a database for future retrieval.
The FAA, in cooperation with the Air Force, conducted a study on vehicle stability enhancements for heavy airport rescue and firefighting vehicles, since a number of these vehicles have suffered rollover accidents in recent years. The study focused on active and reactive suspension systems and shock-dampening systems. Technicians conducted testing to establish more stringent static and dynamic testing criteria for newly manufactured vehicles. As a result, the FAA incorporated changes into the latest revision of the advisory circular for heavy airport rescue vehicle design in the areas of performance testing and vehicle suspension systems. These changes will help prevent rollover accident by ensuring that future airport rescue and firefighting vehicles have the new suspension technology, as well as allowing for retrofitting the existing fleet.
The FAA also initiated research to prevent new large aircraft wingtips from intruding in the safety areas of adjacent taxiways, runways, and terminal areas. In particular, the FAA selected Anchorage International Airport for this research due to its large number of Boeing 747 traffic and availability of varying weather conditions. FAA specialists completed the first phase of data collection in August 2001, with a second phase beginning in September 2001. The FAA expected to begin analysis of the data in FY 2002.
In the area of fire safety research, the FAA has emphasized fuel tank safety since the TWA flight 800 accident in July 1996. One proposed method of reducing the flammability of fuel tanks is fuel tank inerting, which is commonly used by the military. However, the systems weight, resource requirements, and low dispatch reliability have indicated that military fuel tank inerting systems would not be practical for application in transport airplanes. The Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) Fuel Tank Harmonization Working Group, commissioned by the FAA to evaluate various concepts for preventing fuel tank explosions in commercial transport aircraft, concluded that the most potentially cost-effective method of fuel tank flammability reduction is ground-based inerting (GBI). Ground-based inerting is defined by inerting fuel tanks during ground operations, when the threat of explosion is perceived to be the greatest.
FAA and Boeing personnel therefore performed a series of aircraft flight and ground tests to evaluate the effectiveness of GBI as a means of reducing the flammability of fuel tanks in the commercial transport fleet. Boeing made available a model 737-700 for modification and testing. A series of 10 tests were performed (five flight, five ground) under different ground and flight conditions to demonstrate the ability of GBI to reduce fuel tank flammability. Results with low fuel loads showed that, under quiescent conditions, the oxygen concentration in the fuel tank remained somewhat constant, keeping the CWT inert (below 10- to 12-percent oxygen by volume) for relatively long periods of time. Results were in reasonably good agreement with predictions, and the FAA planned to continue this research in FY 2002.
Aircraft cargo compartments fire-detection systems currently consist of either ionization or photoelectric smoke detectors. However, the ratio of false alarms to actual fires detected by U.S.-registered airlines during the previous 5 years is approximately 200 to 1. There are no certification criteria for new multi-sensor detectors employing algorithms that attempt to discriminate between real fires and nuisance alarm sources. The FAA conducted research to standardize the fire that cargo fire-detection systems must detect and to provide technical data to develop certification guidelines for multisensor fire detectors.
Two fire sources were initially developed as proposed standards and the FAA-conducted testing was done at its William J. Hughes Technical Center. Concurrent with the development and testing of fire sources, under NASA funding, Sandia National Laboratories developed a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model to predict the transport of smoke, heat, and gases throughout an aircraft cargo compartment. NASA also contributed to the research by expanding an ongoing project on miniature gas sensors for space applications into use on aircraft. The FAA planned to conduct further related tests to evaluate detector placement and alarm algorithms on detection times and possibly reduce some of the required certification tests.
Regarding suppression of inflight cargo compartment fires, FAA personnel conducted full-scale tests to investigate the effectiveness of several types of water spray systems. Water spray is being considered an alternative agent for Halon 1301, which is no longer being produced because it depletes stratospheric ozone. Because water spray technologies have proven effective in other applications and because water is environmentally friendly, nontoxic, and abundant, it is being considered as a halon-replacement agent for use in cargo compartments.
During FY 2001, FAA personnel also investigated ways to reduce the flammability of seat cushions and other sources of rubber and foam in aircraft. New materials that were developed with the assistance of industry such as polyphosphazene and polysilphenylene-siloxane provide as much as a 50-percent reduction in flammability compared to the best commercial semi-inorganic rubbers and an order-of-magnitude reduction in flammability compared to the polyurethane currently used in aircraft seating. FAA specialists planned to explore the use of relatively low-cost expandable graphite technology in semi-inorganic rubber compounds to obtain a fireproof (zero heat release rate) seat cushion foam by 2005.
The FAAs Fire Research Program continued to seek ways to predict the fire resistance of new polymers from their chemical structure without the time and expense (about 6 months and $50,000 per material) of synthesis, purification, characterization, and fire testing. To this end, the FAA has been developing computer programs to simulate the molecular-level fuel generation process of polymers in fires. FAA scientists measured over 100 polymers of known chemical structure for heat-release capacity using a special FAA-developed technique. A comparison of calculated to measured heat release capacities for 80 polymers showed good agreement, indicating that the fire hazard of a polymer in an aircraft cabin is proportional to its heat-release rate in flaming combustion. Thus, the potential fire resistance of polymers can be simply calculated a priori from the chemical structure without the need for synthesis and/or testing.
In terms of crash research, FAA researchers conducted a vertical drop test of a B737-100 fuselage section at its Atlantic City, NJ, facility. The airframe section was configured to simulate the load density at the maximum takeoff condition and contained cabin seats, dummy occupants, overhead stowage bins with contents, and cargo compartment luggage. The test article was fully instrumented. The objective of the test was to evaluate the response behavior of the overhead stowage bin installations when subjected to a severe, but survivable, impact condition. Of particular interest was a comparison of the pretest static, steady state forces to which the bins were subjected during their calibration versus the dynamic forces generated during the impact test.
Researchers at Wichita State University used an FAA grant to study the use of composite materials in commercial and general aviation aircraft. In particular, scientists investigated impact damage states. It is crucial to understand the effects of impact damage on static ultimate strength and damage tolerance criteria in terms of safety, as well as the implications to maintenance.
The FAA also funded researchers at Syracuse University who developed a methodology to address the problem of delamination growth, a common failure mode in laminated composite aircraft structures. This methodology has the potential of profoundly affecting design, analysis, and certification procedures for composite aircraft structures. First, it will allow a relatively rapid assessment at a large number of possible locations, under a wide range of loadings, whether delamination growth is likely. This will provide an early identification of possible failure sites that may not be found by the current selective testing approach, resulting in improved flight safety. Second, knowledge of the critical size and location of delaminations will reduce aircraft maintenance activity as it will serve as a guide for repair actions. Finally, this methodology may allow the implementation of a more economic certification procedure based on a mix of analysis and testing to assure a damage-tolerant structure similar to that presently in use for metallic structures.
A virtue of fabricating aircraft components from composite materials is that the designer is afforded significant flexibility to vary materials and adhesives to optimize the components weight and load-carrying performance. The same wide range of variables that is so appealing to the designer, however, can cause significant concern to the nondestructive inspection (NDI) practitioner who must buy or fabricate calibration standards for each type of structure encountered when conducting comparative-type NDI tests. Thus the FAA developed some important new reference standards in this regard, and a number of aircraft manufacturers said they would comply.
To predict crack growth and residual strength of riveted joints subjected to widespread fatigue damage (WFD), accurate stress and fracture analyses of corner and surface cracks emanating from a rivet hole are needed. To address this need, the FAA expanded the existing database of three-dimensional stress-intensity factor solutions and modeled bulging factors.
The FAA also developed a methodology to assess the development of WFD and its effect on the residual strength of aircraft structure. WFD in a structure is characterized by the simultaneous presence of cracks at multiple structural components where the cracks are of sufficient size and density that the structure will no longer meet its damage-tolerance requirement. The approach developed by the FAA is a combination of analytical methodology development and experimental validation. Advanced analytical methods were developed and validated over the past decade by the FAA with the support and sponsorship of NASA and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory.
In a related area, the FAA funded the development of an analytical methodology to provide stress-intensity factors to predict fatigue crack growth for rotorcraft applications. The methodology (Automated Global, Intermediate, and Local Evaluation) is a suite of software tools developed for the automation of hierarchical analysis of complex structures.
The FAA Operational Loads Monitoring Research Program continued to collect and analyze both flight and landing loads data on civil transport aircraft. FAA personnel added airplane models A-320 and Cessna-172 to the research program in FY 2001, and models B-747 and B-777 were scheduled to be incorporated into the program in FY 2002.
In partnership with the Naval Air Systems Command and the Office of Naval Research, the FAA continued research and development of arc fault circuit breakers (AFCB) intended to replace existing thermal circuit breakers used in aircraft today. AFCBs detect electrical arcing and rapidly remove power to the affected circuit, drastically reducing the chances of fire and other damage. During FY 2001, the FAA successfully fabricated and tested these AFCB prototypes. In addition, the FAA initiated an extensive program to evaluate the condition of aging circuit breakers.
In the area of aviation security research, the FAA continued to develop and deploy products that prevent explosives, weapons, and other threat material from being introduced onto aircraft. Major areas of concentration include: certification testing, checked and carry-on baggage screening using bulk and trace explosives detection, human factors, aircraft hardening, aviation security technology integration, and airport deployment of systems by the Security Equipment Integrated Product Team.
The Aviation Security Laboratory (ASL) conducted certification tests on the InVision CTX 9000Dsi Explosives Detection System (EDS) production unit, the CTX-2500, and the L3 eXaminer 3DX 6000 unit. All these systems passed. FAA researchers also continued their advanced work in bulk-detection techniques such as x-ray diffraction. In the area of personnel screening, the FAA evaluated several explosive detection prototypes. In the weapons detection area, the ASL evaluated the response of metal detector systems to additional types of weapons in anticipation of upgrading the standard. The ASL also evaluated several large cargo inspection systems and a large bulk EDS for break-bulk cargo.
The human factors program continued to enhance the performance of screeners through the development of Threat Image Projection software. This software, which continued to be installed on systems for both carry-on and checked baggage, improves screener training and enhances awareness. The program also developed a networked Screener Readiness Test.
The Aircraft Hardening Program conducted a series of explosive tests on 737s, 747s, and Airbus aircraft under pressurized conditions for the purpose of refining the vulnerability criteria for carry-on luggage. The program also evaluated liners to protect the overhead bin area and performed additional tests to determine the least risk bomb location.
In FY 2001, human factors and aeromedical scientists conducted research to provide the FAA and industry with human performance information critical to the design, operation, regulation, and certification of equipment, training, and procedures, thereby facilitating safe and efficient National Airspace System (NAS) operations and reducing operator error as an accident-causation factor. Specifically, the FAA conducted aeromedical research with a focus on improving the health, safety, and survivability of aircraft crews and passengers.
The air transportation human factors research program conducted investigations to collect and analyze data on the antecedents and responses to crew error. The results of these investigations were used by the air carriers to modify current line operations and pilot training programs to enhance safety. Researchers completed a survey of over 12,000 U.S. air carrier pilots regarding the effectiveness of current pilot training programs. The results revealed that pilots view their training as effective and important in preparing them to fly in the NAS. Researchers also continued the development of a training analysis and development system that is used by air carriers and local FAA offices in designing pilot training simulator scenarios and other tests that are challenging, fair, and operationally relevant when evaluating pilot performance. This system allows air carriers to design an Advanced Qualification Program (AQP) using performance data collection and analysis. Phase 2 of the Model AQP was completed in 2001.
General aviation researchers completed an analysis of causal factors in accidents and incidents attributed to human error using the military Human Factors Analysis and Classification System. Aviation maintenance researchers also continued their investigation of methods and guidelines that can be used to reduce fatigue-producing factors in the maintenance environment. The results of both of these research projects will facilitate development of regulatory and certification guidance material.
In FY 2001, the FAA researched a new incident-investigation technique that assesses underlying causal factors of operational errors in air traffic control. This project was coordinated with a similar European project. Research also examined human-factor issues in runway incursions, including development of a new booklet for controllers and pilots entitled "Runway Safety: Its Everybodys Business," that provides helpful information on memory, pilot-controller communication, and situational awareness.
In terms of aircraft occupant safety, the FAA completed the largest cabin evacuation study ever conducted evaluating aircraft design and human factors affecting passenger egress through Type III (over wing) emergency exits in transport aircraft. The FAA also completed an altitude research study evaluating the physiological protection provided by three different types of continuous-flow oxygen masks used with portable oxygen bottles for flight attendants. The 747 Aircraft Environmental Research Facility was completed and is in service supporting a variety of safety, security, training, and testing functions and programs. Researchers also conducted investigations to address the FAAs goal for an equivalent level of safety for all aircraft occupants, with targeted areas including seats/restraints/inflation devices for infants and small children, and side-facing seats in corporate aircraft. In addition, three research studies aimed at providing information on 1) the accessibility of under-seat life preservers on transport aircraft, 2) the tension average passengers apply to their seatbelts during normal and emergency conditions, and 3) the optimum lever motion for rapid seatbelt release were completed. Researchers also continued to investigate the nature of inflight medical emergencies and the use of defibrillators on commercial flights, as well as perform epidemiological assessment of biochemical and toxicological factors from fatal civilian aviation accidents.
The FAA and private industry continued to collaborate on the Safe Flight 21 Program, an initiative to validate the capabilities of advanced communication, navigation, and surveillance technologies and related air traffic procedures. During FY 2001, the FAA continued to demonstrate the uses of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) technologies at various airports across the country. ADS-B has been identified in the FAA "Blueprint for NAS Modernization" as a key surveillance technology to supplement, and possibly replace, radar. On January 1, 2001, FAA began initial operations using ADS-B in Alaska for air traffic control representing the first-ever use of this technology to provide radar-like services.
To accomplish these results, the FAA conducted extensive testing to validate the suitability for use of ADS-B to provide air traffic control services similar to radar-based air traffic control services. Problems were identified and solutions developed. New air traffic and certification procedures for using ADS-B were developed and implemented. The FAAs en route automated radar tracking system in Anchorage, Alaska, was upgraded to receive, process, and display ADS-B reports. In October 2000, an operational evaluation involving 17 aircraft from the Cargo Airline Association, the FAA, and avionics manufacturers was conducted in Louisville, Kentucky, to demonstrate the use of ADS-B in final approach spacing, airport surface situational awareness, and moving map applications. A demonstration of surface safety applications was also conducted in Memphis, Tennessee, in June 2001. In addition, four ADS-B safety assessments were completed in September 2001. The Alaska Capstone Program continued its work in Bethel, Alaska, and the Yukon Kuskokwim (Y-K) Delta region, and began expansion into southeast Alaska. On January 1, 2001, the Anchorage Air Route Traffic Control Center began using ADS-B to provide radar-like services in the Bethel, Alaska, area. During the year, avionics were installed in 140 aircraft operating in Bethel and the Y-K Delta. Pilots use this equipment, in conjunction with six ground stations, to receive weather data, a NEXRAD map, and other traffic data. Program expansion to southeast Alaska also began. A useable Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) infrastructure is planned to address the terrain challenges presented by Juneau, Alaska, and the surrounding area. During the year, a request for proposal (RFP) was released to solicit vendors for upgraded avionics suites. Approximately 200 commercial service airplanes and helicopters will be equipped with the enhanced ADS-B systems in southeast Alaska.
The FAA awarded six contracts in February 2001 under the initial Surface Technology Broad Agency Announcement which is designed to explore new/emerging lower cost technology options to reduce runway incursions at the Nations airports. Two proposed solutions, ground markers and addressable signs, showed promise and were being considered for functional and operational testing in an airport environment. The FAA also continued to pursue surveillance- controlled runway status light solutions for both large and small airports.
In FY 2001, the FAA continued progress toward implementation of the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) that will provide availability, integrity, and accuracy for the Global Positioning System (GPS) to be used for en route navigation and precision civilian navigation. During the fiscal year, WAAS employees performed data collection and analyses using the National Satellite Test Bed (NSTB). The FAA developed interference detection and mitigation techniques, collected and analyzed ionospheric data, analyzed satellite alternatives for WAAS final operating capability, and researched satellite navigation issues for Alaska. Researchers from Stanford University used FAA funding to provide key support to the WAAS Integrity and Performance Panel and Independent Review Board. The FAA continued pursuing a North American Satellite Augmentation System with Mexico and Canada. These agreements may significantly cut the FAAs expenses by reducing the agencys need to field WAAS reference stations along the southern and northern U.S. borders.
In addition, the FAA assisted the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) with plans and strategies for the development of a WAAS-based Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) test bed capability for the Caribbean South American region. The FAA expected that the resulting South American test bed would pave the way for an operational system in the region that is completely compatible with the U.S. systems. This future capability, based on U.S. technology, may also provide cost-sharing opportunities on Geostationary Earth Orbit satellite services, significantly reducing projected FAA leasing expenses for satellites. The successful completion of all flight tests and other activities helped to demonstrate U.S. technological leadership in satellite navigation, ensure the seamless transfer from one regional satellite-based navigation system to another, and promote the adoption of satellite navigation in regions where improved navigation capability will increase the safety of flight for U.S. citizens traveling abroad. The FAA expected it to provide the groundwork necessary to achieve the ICAO's vision of a future, worldwide, seamless navigation capability.
In FY 2001, FAA researchers made significant progress in the quest to use the Local Area Augmentation System to achieve Category I and Category III precision approaches. The FAA cooperated with private companies such as United Parcel Service (UPS) and Federal Express (FedEx) in successful tests using this system.
During the fiscal year, the FAA worked with the aviation industry to increase the level of detail contained in the National Airspace System Plan. The plan provides the communities strategic plan for Air Traffic Management through 2015. The plan is based on the "Free Flight" operational concept in which pilots may choose the most efficient and economical routes to their destinations. As part of these modernization efforts, the FAA delivered all the domestic Terminal Doppler Weather Radars. The radar and its associated display are important safety features for helping to identify hazardous weather such as wind shear and microbursts.
During FY 2001, the FAAs William J. Hughes Technical Center worked in partnership with NASA's Ames Research Center as the cosponsors of a technology transition initiative. The purpose of this initiative was to acquire technical knowledge of new technologies developed by NASA early in the concept and prototype development phases. The knowledge acquired through joint development participation will potentially assist in reducing the time it takes to go from concept development to field implementation. In support of this effort, the team at the Technical Center recruited and hired subject-matter experts to participate in the technology transition initiative. The success of the technology transition initiative was validated by an increase in the number of implementation plans, which provide the formal agreement between NASA and the FAA for collaborative joint development and technology transition efforts.
The Technical Center team has also supported the mission of the Interagency Air Traffic Management Integrated Product Team by providing technical experts to serve as coleads for joint research projects and project leads for those projects that have shown some benefit for the NAS. In addition, the key team members were active participants in the Interagency Air Traffic Management Integrated Management Team.
In FY 2001, the FAA completed development of an advanced tool to calibrate and certify many secondary radars in the NAS, including the new Airport Surveillance Radar, the Air Traffic Control Beacon Interrogator upgrade, and existing Mode S radars. The Technical Center conducted tests verifying the performance envelope and the electromagnetic inference and environmental characteristics of this new test set. Subsequently, the FAA accepted the first five production units for use at operational sites around the Nation.
The Hughes Technical Center also completed a study of the Airport Movement Area Safety System intersecting runways alert parameters. The purpose of the study was to determine a recommended set of parameters to initiate alerts of potential runway collisions for aircraft operating on intersecting runways at various airports. After collecting live data at these airports and thorough analysis of the data, the study recommended a set of parameters that maximize safety benefits while minimizing the number of nuisance alerts generated.
In partnership with the Department of Defense and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Technical Center initiated research on the feasibility of using multifunction-phased array radars to perform weather detection and warning, and to track aircraft. The ultimate goal of this project was to provide much earlier warning of impending severe weather conditions. The FAA expected that this project would create a research facility in the aptly named "Tornado Alley" at the National Severe Storm Laboratories in Norman, Oklahoma.
Airborne laboratories in the FAAs Research and Development Flight Program participated in unique flight-test and high-altitude data collection to support development of new procedures and technology to improve navigation and safety for our Nations pilots and their passengers. The wide variety of programs included GPS navigation and precision approach development, air traffic control circuit breakers tests, human factors, WAAS, and the Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS). These tests utilized a specially modified Boeing 727, a Sikorsky helicopter, and a Convair 580 aircraft.
The Technical Center established an advanced differential GPS test bed in Brazil. Under a memorandum of understanding between FAA and the aviation authority in Brazil, Technical Center engineers procured and installed hardware and software for the test bed and provided training on the fundamental concepts of GPS wide-area differential systems and how to operate and maintain the test bed.
The safe operation of our Nations airspace depends on reliable communications and navigation signals, but radio frequency interference (RFI) can damage or cancel those signals. The Technical Center supported several high-visibility RFI projects such as innovative training courses for FAA inspectors and personnel at ATC facilities. In FY 2001, FAA instructors reached out to over 300 FAA regional, flight inspection, and international technicians, inspectors, and engineers.
The Technical Center completed the final phase of an air traffic control simulation study designed to reduce delays into Newark International Airport. More than 100 air traffic controllers from four facilities in the eastern region participated in a series of simulations. They tested different procedures along existing flight paths to better enable controllers to sequence aircraft into the busy New York metropolitan area. The completion of this study represented more than a year of development and testing involving hundreds of hours of simulation, and involved airspace in four air traffic control facilities: New York Center, Washington Center, Philadelphia Air Traffic Control Tower, and the New York TRACON. Separate standalone simulations were conducted for each facility, and these simulations were conducted using the high-fidelity equipment in the air traffic labs at the Technical Center. The controllers, programmers, airspace specialists, union representatives, and managers all worked together throughout the year to overcome the many challenges faced by the participants, and the final phase of simulations was completed in May 2001. The Administrator also initiated a unique study in the fall of 2000 to identify several points of congestion in the NAS and provide relief in an expeditious manner.
Human factors researchers at the Technical Center conducted rapid prototyping efforts, early user involvement events, and computer-human interface (CHI) validation simulations on multiple new or upgraded systems for the NAS. In addition, they revised the Human Factors Design Guide to reflect the most current research and information.
Human factors scientists at the Technical Center also examined the effects of automation tools on air traffic controllers workload and situational awareness. The first study investigated the effect of increasing levels of decision support automation. A second study, conducted in collaboration with the Civil Aeromedical Institute, explored the potential benefits and information requirements of an operational position, airspace coordinator, which could more strategically plan traffic through airspace sectors. Finally, researchers examined the potential human factors issues associated with collocating three Free Flight automation tools.
FAAs Office of the Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation (AST) continued to license and regulate U.S. commercial space launch activity, ensuring public health and safety, and the safety of property, and protecting national security and foreign policy interests of the United States. AST also licensed operation of non-Federal launch sites and facilitated and promoted commercial space launches by the private sector.
During fiscal year 2001, AST licensed six orbital space launches. Three launches were conducted by Sea Launch (Zenit 3SL vehicle), two by Orbital Sciences Corporation (Pegasus and Taurus), and one by International Launch Services (Atlas IIAS). AST also established the System Engineering and Training division to define safety standards for existing and emerging space launch systems, launch sites, re-entry systems, and re-entry sites. The new division responds to the training needs of AST employees.
Several reports were released, including "The Economic Impact of Commercial Space Transportation on the U.S. Economy." The first-ever U.S. study of its kind, the report showed that in a single year (1999), the U.S. commercial launch industry was responsible for yielding more than $61.3 billion in economic activity and for supporting nearly half a million jobs in the United States. The "2001 Commercial Space Transportation Forecasts" were released by AST and FAAs Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee. The forecasts projected an average demand for 32 worldwide commercial space launches per year through 2010.
The Air Force and the FAA signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Safety for Space Transportation and Range Activities. AST completed the draft and preliminary versions of the Rulemaking Project Record for the Reusable Launch Vehicle Operations and Maintenance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). In addition, AST participated on a committee to advise NASA in selecting initial contracts for the Space Launch Initiative (second-generation Reusable Launch Vehicle), revised and updated its environmental guidelines, and began preparation on licensing new Atlas V and Delta IV launch vehicles.