- Press Release
- August 15, 2022
Senate Testimony on Aeronautics by NASA Langley Center Director Creedon
Statement of Dr. Jeremiah F. Creedon,
Director, NASA Langley Research Center,
Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space
Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
U. S. Senate
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee:
Thank you for the opportunity to speak about NASA’s technology development
in support of the bold new aeronautics vision outlined by our Administrator,
For the past 50 years we have been flying commercial transport aircraft
that fairly closely resemble the Boeing 707, the first commercial jet transport,
and we have been operating an air traffic control system based on centralized
control concepts developed over 50 years ago. Significant advancements
have been made to improve the performance and efficiency of 20th Century
aircraft and our national airspace system over these five decades. Despite
these enhancements, the public expects better performance and better performance
is required to maintain and improve their quality of life. Our citizens
want to fly more often, go to more locations, arrive on time, and be assured
of improved safety and security. Airport neighbors want reduced noise and
emissions. Businesses need affordable, on-time, secure delivery of freight
virtually anywhere in the world.
Mr. Goldin has described both a bold new vision for the future of aeronautics
in meeting these quality of life needs and a strategy for attaining this
vision. He has presented a revolutionary approach to air traffic management
and described a new perspective on revolutionary aerospace vehicles. The
strategy he has set forth requires the simultaneous development of technologies
to help improve the performance and safety of the existing aircraft and
airspace traffic management system and technologies that achieve the longer-term
visions he described.
The mission of the people at the NASA Research Centers is to turn these
visionary possibilities into realities. Today, I want to tell you about
some of the exciting new aeronautical technologies being developed at NASA
that support the Administrator’s vision for what NASA’s aeronautics research
can contribute to the Nation.
Langley Research Center (LaRC) is one of five NASA field centers providing
the primary contributions to achieving the research goals of the Aerospace
Technology Enterprise. Ames Research Center is focused on Information Technology,
Glenn Research Center is focused on Power and Propulsion, Dryden Flight
Research Center is focused on Flight Research, Marshall Space Flight Center
is focused on Space Launch Vehicles, and Langley Research Center is focused
on Aerospace Vehicle Technologies for atmospheric flight. While the areas
listed are their primary focus, all of the Centers are engaged in a broad
range of research activities that support the agency goals.
I will concentrate on the research being done at Langley. The examples
I will discuss are typical of the excellent work also being done at the
other NASA Research Centers.
Langley Research Center Contributions to Quality of Life
As Director of the Langley Research Center, I am proud that our researchers
are engaged in many research tasks that substantively contribute to the
Nation’s quality of life. They are studying the composition and evolution
of Earth’s atmosphere as an aid to policymakers, providing technologies
for planetary exploration to extend the space frontier, working to reduce
the cost of access to space, and helping assure the superiority of our
military aircraft. The innovation inherent in Langley’s efforts is underlined
by the fact that the Center’s researchers have been awarded over 200 patents
in the last five years and have received over 30 of the prestigious “IR
100 Awards” given annually by the Research and Development magazine as
one of the one hundred most-significant new technical products of the year.
We, at Langley, also ensure that the benefits of our research are shared
with non-aerospace firms and have licensed almost sixty technologies in
the last few years.
The mission of the Langley research center is to take on long-term,
high-risk, high-payoff technical aerospace challenges that are beyond the
risk limit or capability of industry and to deliver validated technologies
to address these challenges. The Administrator has provided a very challenging
vision and our role at Langley and the other research centers is to turn
it into reality. The vision he has articulated may seem very difficult
to attain; however the scientists, engineers and technicians at Langley
have never been afraid to tackle and master problems thought too difficult
to solve and we welcome this challenge. An excellent example of this culture
is seen in the Center’s contributions to eliminating the impact of wind
shear on aviation safety.
Wind shear is a spatially very concentrated and often very intense downward
flow of air. From 1965 to 1985 this phenomenon was the most significant
single factor responsible for aviation fatalities. Langley, in conjunction
with the FAA, undertook a program to develop a sensor that could look out
ahead of the aircraft and detect a wind shear with enough advance notice
to enable the crew to fly around the hazard. At that time, the general
view was that this problem was technically too tough to be solved. It was
certainly beyond the risk limit of commercial enterprises. Nevertheless,
in a relatively short time, sensors were developed, and using NASA’s B-737
flying laboratory, the ability to detect wind shears and give the crew
adequate warning to safely fly around the hazard was successfully demonstrated.
There are now 4,000 aircraft worldwide using this technology. This is an
example of the payoff of the research performed at the NASA Research Centersóa
high-risk, high-payoff accomplishment brought into everyday use.
Military aircraft also directly benefit from our research. The F-18
E/F production was threatened when the aircraft exhibited “wing rock” (a
severe un-commanded roll maneuver of the aircraft) during flight tests.
The solution to this problem was a “porous wing fairing” which had been
conceived and validated by researchers at Langley. When the F-18 E/F aircraft
were retrofitted with this fairing, the “wing rock” was eliminated, thus
avoiding a costly redesign or program cancellation.
Improving the Air Transportation System
Anyone who travels by air knows that our national air transportation
system is approaching gridlock. Flight delays totaling three million hours
were recorded in 1996. Studies indicate that those delays will rise to
over 9 million hours by 2007 and to 25 million hours by 2017. In FY 2000,
the National Business Travel Association estimated the annual cost of delays
at $5 billion with a loss of 1.5 million work-hours. As time increasingly
becomes the “scarce commodity” of the information age, the demand for aviation
transportation is outpacing the capacity of today’s hub-and-spoke system.
Thus, when speed is at a premium, the nation’s doorstep-to-destination
travel speeds are getting worse, not better.
In accordance with the strategy expressed by the Administrator, research
efforts at NASA are simultaneously addressing improvements to the existing
system as well as trying to provide breakthrough system concepts that will
change the air traffic management paradigm. Two technological improvements
to the existing system are related to reducing the capacity-limiting aspects
of wake vortices, and improving the capacity of airports in conditions
of poor visibility.
Wingtip vortices ñ the turbulent wakes generated by an aircraft ñ can
cause a loss of control by an airplane following too closely behind the
aircraft generating the wake. A recent successful demonstration showed
NASA’s ability to predict both the strength and decay characteristics of
aircraft wing tip vortices created during take-offs and landings. When
this improved knowledge of wake vortex characteristics has been demonstrated
to the level of certainty required for daily use in the air traffic management
system, the spacing between aircraft can be safely reduced and capacity
increased. Studies have shown that peak airport capacities could be increased
between 6 percent and 12 percent depending on the specific mix of aircraft
types at a given airport. This level of capacity increase is significant
because of the leveraging effect between capacity changes and delays. When
a system is operating near saturation, small changes in capacity result
in very large changes in delay.
Many of the nation’s busiest airports have closely spaced parallel runways.
Under clear weather conditions aircraft using these runways can operate
independently. As visibility decreases, aircraft cannot be seen well enough
to ensure there will be no conflicts as a result of one of the aircraft
departing from its appropriate flight path. In this situation, safety requirements
demand controllers stagger the positions of aircraft operating on parallel
runways. In some cases, operations using one of the runways are eliminated
entirely. In either case, capacity is reduced. NASA’s B-757 was used to
demonstrate the technical feasibility of a system in each aircraft that
senses the precise location of neighboring aircraft approaching on the
closely spaced runways and issues appropriate warnings or evasive maneuver
instructions to the flight crew as warranted by safety considerations.
With this Airborne Information for Lateral Spacing technology in place,
the reduction in capacity can be safely avoided.
The Ames Research Center has conceived, developed, and deployed many
software support tools to aid air traffic controllers in obtaining improved
capacity and traffic handling performance. These tools assist controllers
in providing efficient runway surface operations and runway use, scheduling
and metering aircraft into terminal areas at a rate that equals airport
capacity, and sequencing and spacing arriving and departing traffic. They
have been deployed and evaluated in the existing air traffic management
system and have provided excellent support to the controllers in organizing
and efficiently controlling the flow of aircraft. The tools are now being
readied for more widespread application.
In addition to these improvements in the capacity of the existing Air
Traffic Management System, we are participating in developing a breakthrough
approach to provide enhanced mobility by utilizing this country’s more
than 5000 public use airports.
Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS)
The past seven years of investment by NASA in small aircraft technologies
coupled with changes in liability legislation have led to the emergence
of a new generation of small aircraft. The NASA contributions to this new
generation of safe and affordable aircraft were made through the Advanced
General Aviation Transport Experiments (AGATE) Alliance and the General
Aviation Propulsion (GAP) Program. The technologies developed, coupled
with the Generation Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994 and with burgeoning
market demand, have supported a dramatic industrial recovery over the past
five years (1995-2000). The combined impact of these factors has resulted
in more than a 300 percent growth in aircraft deliveries, more than a 350
percent growth in industry billings, over 20 percent improvement in fleet
safety, recovery to about 20 percent of export deliveries, with about 10
percent annual growth of jobs in this sector.
New aircraft currently going into production have greatly benefited
from NASA research. The aircraft include twin turbofan-powered, four- to
six-place pressurized aircraft, and several new single-engine aircraft.
These new aircraft possess near-all-weather operating capabilities and
are compatible with the modernization of the National Airspace System.
However, these new aircraft will not make the new transportation innovation
fully available to the general public unless new concepts for airspace
architecture and operations can be developed.
Fortunately, more than 98 percent of the U.S. population lives within
a 30-minute drive of one of the over 5,000 public-use landing facilities.
This infrastructure is an untapped national resource for mobility. The
concept of a Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) offers a safe
travel alternative, freeing people and products from transportation delays
by creating access to more communities in less time. SATS is based on a
new generation of affordable small aircraft operating in a fully distributed
system of small airports serving thousands of suburban, rural, and remote
communities. The safe, efficient utilization of smaller aircraft and smaller
airports can provide a revolution in community accessibility and in public
mobility. The system of enabling technologies can be developed and integrated
to give the nation near-all-weather access to virtually every runway of
these public-use facilities.
Today, small aircraft operating in airspace typical of small community
airports are limited to “one-in, one-out” in low-visibility conditions.
Air traffic controllers limit only one aircraft at a time in the airport
vicinity due to the lack of both radar coverage and reliable communications.
The SATS concept integrates high bandwidth wireless communications and
Global Positioning System (GPS) technologies to enable multiple aircraft
to land and takeoff at community airports. This capability will exist even
under reduced visibility weather conditions, and without the need for expensive
control towers and ground-based radar systems.
NASA is working with the FAA, industry, universities, and state and
local governments to demonstrate the SATS concept. Once this concept is
proven, we can work cooperatively with state and local governments to transition
this capability across the nation to benefit all of our citizens. SATS
technologies have the potential of reducing inter-city travel times by
half in many markets, while increasing ten-fold the number of communities
served by air transportation.
Improving Safety in the Air Transportation System
The worldwide commercial aviation major accident rate (as judged by
hull losses per million departures) has been nearly constant over the past
three decades. Although the rate is very low, increasing traffic over the
years has resulted in the absolute number of accidents also increasing.
The worldwide demand for air travel is expected to increase even further
over the coming 2 decadesódoubling or tripling by 2017 with the estimated
requirement for up to $1 trillion in new aircraft deliveries. Without an
improvement in the accident rate, such a traffic volume could lead to 50
or more major accidents a yearóa nearly weekly occurrence. Given the very
visible, damaging, and tragic effects of even a single major accident,
this large number of accidents would clearly have an unacceptable impact
upon the public’s confidence in the aviation system and impede the anticipated
growth of the commercial air-travel market. The safety of the general aviation
(GA) system is also critically important. The current GA accident rate
is many times greater than that of scheduled commercial transport operations.
With the GA market also poised to grow significantly in future years, safety
considerations must be removed as a barrier if this growth is to be realized.
As is the case in system capacity, NASA has ongoing research in safety
enhancing technologies for nearer term application in the existing air
traffic system as well as more revolutionary technologies for improving
safety. In the last calendar year, LaRC demonstrated several capacity and
safety related technologies at the Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) airport.
Runway incursions, which are conditions where two aircraft are operating
on the same runway, are a growing national concern. Incursions have more
than doubled over the past 6 years. Last year, we saw a new high of 429
recorded runway incursion incidents. A technology demonstration in October
2000, at the Dallas Fort Worth Airport, illustrated new methods to eliminate
two-thirds of these incursions, specifically those caused by pilot errors.
If made reliable enough to warrant installation on aircraft, these methods
would allow the crew to positively and independently verify which runway
they were on and indicate the presence of any other aircraft either on,
or about to use, that runway. This capability would go a long way to eliminate
the serious threat of, and the tragedy resulting from runway incursion
A more revolutionary approach to improving safety involves providing
a synthetic vision system for the pilot. Limited visibility leading to
controlled flight into terrain is one of the greatest contributing factors
in fatal airline and general aviation crashes. Last October, again using
NASA’s B-757, an early version of a synthetic vision system was demonstrated
at the Dallas Fort Worth Airport. This type of system would use terrain
data maps and, eventually, fog-cutting sensors to give the crew a clear-weather
view of the world outside the cockpit no matter what the weather or time
of day and thus eliminate controlled flight into terrain accidents. One
evaluation pilot commented during a demonstration flight, “The terrain
picture — the synthetic vision display — is just terrific. I find myself
forgetting that that’s not the real world I’m looking at.” While a significant
amount of effort is still required to make these systems a reality, they
do represent a breakthrough for safe flying.
The projected increase in demand for air travel, coupled with our citizens’
quality of life expectations require significantly improved aircraft noise
reduction technologies. NASA’s noise reduction program is focusing on three
technical areas: engines, airframes such as landing gear and flaps, and
aircraft operations. Major strides have been made in new approaches to
reducing engine noise.
Not long ago, during the 1990’s, as research limiting engine noise was
being accomplished, airframe noise, the noise that the airframe itself
makes as it moves through the air, was thought to be a barrier that would
limit further overall aircraft noise reduction progress. Researchers at
Langley and Ames took up this very difficult challenge, developed an understanding
of the fundamental flow characteristics leading to the generation of airframe
noise, and are now able to identify design modifications to substantially
reduce airframe noise.
We have made significant progress, but public expectations are high,
and our job is not done. NASA’s ultimate goal is to develop technology
to contain all objectionable noise within the airport boundaries. In this
way we can achieve our citizens’ expectations for their quality of life,
for quiet neighborhoods and homes. Containing objectionable noise within
the airport boundary will also enable the projected demand-driven increases
for air travel to allow our citizens full access to all of the goods and
services provided by our air transportation system.
Revolutionary New Vehicles for a New Era in Flight
Revolutionizing the airspace system alone is not enough. To meet the
challenges of safety, noise, emissions and performance an entirely new
level of vehicle efficiency, functionality and environmental compatibility
must be achieved.
We stand at a unique time in technology evolution–a time where numerous
advanced technologies have been developed or are on the horizon that will
break the current “tube with wings” shape paradigm for aircraft.
The significant advances in biotechnology, nanotechnology, and information
technology are opening the door to a new era in aircraft development resulting
in designs that will be radically different from today’s aircraft. The
continued viability of aviation is not through evolutionary or near-term
approaches alone, but through development of revolutionary advances utilizing
these emerging technologies.
As Mr. Goldin has pointed out, the aircraft of the future will not be
built of traditional, multiple, mechanically-connected parts and systems.
Instead, aircraft wing construction will employ fully integrated, embedded,
“smart” materials and actuators that will operate more like a bird’s wing.
If we can emulate the characteristics present in nature, then we will be
able to use these characteristics to develop revolutionary civil and military
Rather than optimizing the vehicle shape for just one phase of flight
(perhaps with some mechanical motion to achieve enhanced performance at
a limited number of other conditions) we could have an aircraft which,
like a bird, constantly changes its shape to achieve optimal performance
at all flight conditions. Able to respond to the constantly varying conditions
of flight, sensors will act like the “nerves” in a bird’s wing and will
measure the pressure over the entire surface of the wing. The response
to these measurements will direct actuators, which will function like the
bird’s wing “muscles”. Just as a bird instinctively uses different feathers
on its’ wings to control its’ flight, the actuators will change the shape
of the aircraft’s wings to continuously optimize flying conditions.
Intelligent systems composed of sensors, actuators, microprocessors,
and adaptive or neural controls will provide an effective “central nervous
system” for stimulating the structure to effect an adaptive “physical response.”
The central nervous system will provide many advantages over current technologies.
Proposed 21st Century aerospace vehicles will be able to monitor their
own environment, performance, and even their operators in order to improve
fuel efficiency, minimize airframe noise, and enhance safety. They will
also have systems that will provide safe takeoffs and landings from short
airfields enabling access to this country’s more than 5,400 rural/regional
Researchers at NASA Langley Research Center are exploring these advanced
vehicle concepts and revolutionary new technologies.
New materials, actuators, and sensors
Langley Research Center has made pioneering contributions in composite
technology development. We have recently initiated research activities
on the development of nanostructured and biologically inspired material
concepts. These new classes of materials have the potential to mimic the
attractive attributes of biological systems including self-assembly, self-diagnostics,
self-repair, and multi-functionality. The emergence of computational material
analysis capabilities will give engineers the ability to design materials
to achieve the desired functionality leading to ultra-lightweight, structurally
efficient aerospace vehicles. Using physics-based computer simulations,
Langley researchers have shown that carbon nanotube reinforced composites
have the potential to be three times stronger and four times stiffer than
even the composite materials used on aircraft such as the B-2 stealth bomber
and the Boeing 777. Such new materials could reduce the vehicle structural
weight by about 50 percent and the required fuel by about 25 percent. The
gains in a next generation reusable launch vehicle would be even more dramatic
because the new nanotube reinforced composite material would be replacing
conventional aluminum. In this case the predicted vehicle dry weight could
be reduced by a factor of four. These materials are an enabling technology
for developing a single stage to orbit reusable launch vehicle, which is
essential in achieving the goal of reducing space launch cost by an order
All flying vehicles rely heavily on effective sensing systems to ensure
the safety and control of the vehicle. Thus far we have developed fiber
optic sensors that can be embedded throughout large areas of the aircraft
skin for health monitoring. Recent breakthroughs in this sensing technology
has allowed us to put hundreds of sensors on a single optical fiber and
sense a spectrum of stimuli including temperature, loads, and the presence
of hazardous chemicals. These fiber optic sensors have been deployed on
several large structures including X-33 prototype cryotanks and full scale
wing box test structures. For a recent wing box load test 3000 fiber optic
strain sensors on only four optical fibers were used to provide high-density
strain data over a large area with negligible weight penalty. Thus we are
able to reduce the weight and complexity of sensing systems while increasing
the number of places on the vehicle we can make measurements. We have also
designed fault tolerant systems that are impervious to electromagnetic
interference. These technology advances are poised for integration into
an advance aircraft control system that mimics the human central nervous
system. In addressing our future vision, we are developing concepts that
will combine these technologies into an advanced control system that can
respond to sensed stimuli and seamlessly adapt the vehicle to unexpected
In addition to sensing systems, aerospace vehicles also rely upon actuators
for vehicle control. Langley researchers have used smart materials to develop
embeddable actuators that can be used to control aerodynamic and structural
motion. Two such actuators “Thunder” and the “MicroFiberComposite” actuators
have won IR 100 awards. In the area of innovative structural control, we
expanded the performance envelope of engines by developing structural concepts
that change shape using advanced smart metals to reduce fuel burn and cost.
We have also used Langley developed piezoelectric materials to control
vibration on an F-18 model resulting in increased service life and reduced
cost. For the future we are currently developing new smart materials that
can be used to control and move the aircraft structure on command to continually
optimize performance throughout flight.
To improve aerodynamic efficiency Langley engineers have conceived and
demonstrated concepts for “porous” wings and small riblets on wing skins
to dramatically reduce drag and improve performance. We have conceived
new innovative concepts that allow us to effectively re-shape the wing
of an airplane using micro devices to create a virtual new wing shape ñ
one formed by both air flow and hardware. This micro-flow-control technology
can improve the performance of aircraft engines, wings, and tails.
Langley has pioneered research in microflow control technology. Riblets
are micro-grooves on a surface, which when aligned with the flow, can reduce
the skin friction drag. This technology was flight-verified for a 6 percent
reduction in skin friction drag. Another technology called Passive porosity
allows the skin to breathe and redistributes the pressure field to potentially
control flow separation for improved maneuvering capability. The U.S. Navy
used this technique on the F-18E/F to solve its’ wing drop phenomenon.
Micro-vortex generators (MVG’s) are small wing surface devices that energize
the flow near the surface to help prevent flow separation. Test results
showed that MVG’s dramatically enhanced aerodynamic performance including
a 10-percent increase in lift, 50-percent decrease in drag, and a 100-percent
increase in lift-to-drag ratio. During flight tests conducted in 1996 and
1997 by Gulfstream, the micro-vortex generators outperformed conventional
vortex generators, and Gulfstream now incorporates MVG’s on the outboard
upper surfaces of its’ airplane wings for enhanced cruise performance.
With the MVGs installed, the Gulfstream V was able to achieve a higher
maximum cruise speed, extend its operational range capability, and exhibit
better controllability. The Gulfstream V aircraft has set numerous domestic
and world speed and performance records and was named the winner of the
1997 Collier Trophy presented by the National Aeronautic Association.
New technologies are currently being pursued in active microflow control.
Microactive flow control is a very multi-disciplinary integration of technologies
including advanced aerodynamics, smart materials, advanced structural integration,
and new system control theory. In the past flow control has utilized steady
actuation techniques such as steady blowing or suction. Further advances
are possible by utilizing pulsed or unsteady actuation devices. Unsteady
devices allow aerodynamicists to accomplish the same performance benefits
as steady devices at two orders of magnitude less energy consumption. An
example of an active flow-control device is the synthetic jet, a device
that acts like a tiny electrically driven pump. It consists of a vibrating
membrane placed in a chamber below the wing surface. These devices can
be very small and operate on the micro-scales of the vehicle to achieve
macro-scale results. As an enabling technology, active flow control technology
benefits have not yet been fully explored. Langley is considering a variety
of areas to apply these technologies to enable vehicles such as that portrayed
in the NASA vision. These include active flow control in engine inlets
to improve efficiency and reduce noise, new concepts for pneumatic flaps
or ailerons to eliminate the need for existing high-lift or flight control
surfaces. Other applications include drag reduction concepts, noise reduction
concepts, and flight-maneuverability concepts.
High Speed Flight
The value of time as a commodity is also evident in air travel over
long distances. Intercontinental travel at current commercial transport
speeds can be grueling and potentially unhealthy. The investments made
to date by the U.S. government and industry have made the dream of a environmentally
acceptable, economically viable supersonic aircraft nearly a reality. NASA
is cooperating with DARPA to explore noise reduction technologies and low
sonic boom designs. Langley engineers have also explored modifying the
physical shape of the aircraft utilizing numerical optimization. These
optimized vehicles demonstrate improved aerodynamic efficiency, and much
lower sonic boom levels at supersonic speed. Continued effort is needed
to explore new technologies in these areas, and others including improved
efficiency and longer aircraft life.
Although I’ve addressed four technological areas separately, the technological
advances in one area often beneficially affect other technology areas.
By integrating advanced technologies we feel that more efficient and adaptable
aircraft are in our reach. This year we are conducting tests to demonstrate
simplified flaps on aircraft using small synthetic jets with smart materials
to control the flow over the wings. This technology blends advanced materials,
control systems, micro electronics, and aerodynamics to enable shorter
take off and landing, lighter weight flaps, and reduced fuel burn and noise.
In the next several years we look forward to demonstrating concepts for
dramatically improving the safety of aerospace vehicles using self-healing
materials and electrical systems. We envision aircraft that are optimized
to improve functionality for the entire flight regime specifically addressing
safety needs while reducing fuel burn and noise. These technological advancements
will benefit the breadth of flight vehicles from vehicles that fly in the
atmosphere to space transportation vehicles.
Achieving the Goals
NASA’s vision for revolutionizing air traffic management and developing
revolutionary new aerospace vehicles is sufficiently ambitious to undoubtedly
cause some to wonder whether or not it is achievable. Efforts of this level
of difficulty represent the proper role for NASA, which is to undertake
activities beyond the risk limit or capability of industry, and to deliver
validated technologies. My belief is that the goals inherent in the vision
are achievable. The belief is based on both on our long-term track record
and on the recent, demonstrated progress made toward achieving our goals.
It is imperative that we aggressively pursue attainment of the technology
advances required by the vision. The pace of technology development is
increasing very rapidly and the only way to achieve world leadership in
an area is to out run the competition. Moreover, one of the most effective
ways to maintain and increase the quality of life for our Nation is to
provide for the enhanced safety, efficiency and environmental compatibility
of our air transportation system as quickly as possible. NASA is uniquely
positioned to conduct the research required to develop revolutionary new
air vehicles and a revolutionary new approach for air traffic management.
We do not believe, as some might suggest, that these are maturing areas
of technology. We believe that our 21st Century future is as
full of promise today as was the 20th Century to our predecessors.
We are accomplishing excellent, high-payoff research activities that
will benefit the quality of life in the country through enhancements in
safety, airspace system capacity, noise and emission reduction and contributions
to the pre-eminence of military aircraft.
Hard choices have been and are being made. The NASA Aerospace Technology
Enterprise has reprogrammed a significant portion of its research funding
to enhance efforts to achieve the highest priority products. The reprogramming
efforts have taken place within our existing funding and have thus necessitated
stopping some ongoing efforts. The agency is also emphasizing aerospace
research rather than Aeronautics and Space activities to help achieve all
the synergies that are available. The Agency has embarked on a detailed
study to determine which facilities it requires for the future, to eliminate
the facilities it no longer needs, and to ensure it has adequate funds
to maintain and renew the facilities it requires
Hearings such as this one today will help the country with this debate,
I am happy to have been able to contribute some input to the discussion.