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NASA: TSAS air traffic software wins award

September 1, 2017. NASA. When planes get caught in traffic, the congestion doesn’t bring them to a halt. Pilots have to keep flying, of course, until the backup clears and their runways become available for landing. This means that air traffic controllers must send them on less-direct paths to their final destination, using more fuel in the process. An innovative software tool for air traffic management, called Terminal Sequencing and Spacing, or TSAS, will help planes descend more efficiently by controlling the spacing between individual aircraft, before they even reach the airport.

TSAS was developed at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, and is the winner of NASA’s Software of the Year for 2017. The Ames Research Center has been honored with the award for four consecutive years..
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Read more from this NASA sourced article here: nasa.gov/feature/ames/air-traffic-win-win-wins-nasa-software-of-the-year 

By telling air traffic controllers when to hold some planes back and speed others up, making adjustments in real time, this tool not only increases the rate of landing at an airport, but decreases the amount of fuel consumed by individual flights, too. Aircraft that descend continuously into landing use less fuel, create fewer emissions and save passengers time. TSAS was designed specifically for periods of moderate- to high-air traffic congestion – exactly when such a tool is needed most.
Abigail Tabor, NASA

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Below: Terminal Sequencing and Spacing, or TSAS, is NASA's innovative software tool for air traffic management that will help planes land more efficiently by controlling the spacing between individual aircraft, before they even reach the airport. This before-and-after image compares air traffic patterns without TSAS (left) and those using TSAS tools (right). The software allows aircraft to take more direct paths into the airport, using less fuel, creating fewer emissions and saving passengers time. Image source:  https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/image1-1280.jpg. Credit:  NASA