NASA invites you to design 'Sky for All’ with $15,000 challenge

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Bengaluru, Dec 18: As aviators and plane lovers across the world paid rich tributes to Wright Brothers on the 112th anniversary of their historic 12-second first flight on December 17, 1903, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) came out with an interesting challenge to keep the skies less crowded.

Coinciding with the Wright Brothers' Day, also observed as Aviation Day by many, NASA gave insights into its initiative aimed at involving public contribute new ideas for future air travel.


"The history of aviation is rich with innovations from citizen inventors and we are looking to the public to continue that tradition," says NASA.

The project named -- Sky for All: Air Mobility for 2035 and Beyond -- is a $15,000 challenge to develop ideas for technologies that could be part of a clean-slate, revolutionary design and concept of operations for the airspace of the future.

NASA is currently permitting participants to pre-register for the challenge which opens on December 21 and concludes on February 26, 2016.

Sponsored by the NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD), the challenge seeks participants to think outside the current air traffic management system box and come out with solutions to manage crowded skies, autonomous operations and cyber security of the system.

In 20 years, it will all be crowded up there

Quoting Parimal Kopardekar, a project manager with ARMD's Safe Autonomous Operations Systems, NASA says 20 years from now, people may be surprised about the number and kind of vehicles sharing the skies.

"We anticipate there will be personal air vehicles, passenger jets, and unmanned aircraft of various sizes and speeds flying at a variety of altitudes, as well as commercial space launches, spacecraft and even stationary objects like wind turbines," says Parimal.

Participants must consider options to design a robust system that can scale up to full capacity under normal operations and scale back to equally safe reduced capacity under poor conditions, like bad weather. Ideas may also consider autonomous adaptation of the system, and protection from possible cyber security attacks.

The participants have been asked to disregard current trends in transportation infrastructure and its constraints.

A full description of the design, including safety features and an explanation of how the new air transportation system would interact with others forms of transportation, including ground and sea, is a must during submission.

Reacting to the NASA report, noted aviator and former Chief Test Pilot of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) Wg Cdr C D Upadhyay (Retd) told OneIndia from the United States on Friday the smart drones are essential for keeping the sky in order.

"It's going to be a huge challenge. Like our roads, even the skies are getting crowded by the day. I feel Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) will be required for all these flying objects. Thos could help control the traffic up there. PBN is the new kid in the market," says Upadhyay.

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