University Communication, April 21, 2020
Nebraska researchers contribute to new NASA project
Carrick Detweiler, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and Adam Houston, professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, will be working on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s University Leadership Initiative as part of the Oklahoma State University team. It is one of five university teams selected to examine a range of technical areas in support of NASA’s aeronautics research goals.
The initiative was created to initiate a new type of interaction between NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate and the national university community, where American universities take the lead, build their own teams, and set their own research paths. The initiative seeks new, innovative ideas that can support the NASA directorate’s portfolio and the U.S. aviation community.
“This project will result in significant advances in the algorithms and atmospheric sensors operating on small (unmanned aircraft systems) to improve real-time forecasting of the lower part of the atmosphere,” Detweiler said. “This builds on more than five years of collaborative work between Dr. Houston and myself in this area.”
Nebraska’s team includes faculty and students from the College of Arts and Science and College of Engineering. They will collaborate with Oklahoma State’s team and other universities to look for ways to improve real-time weather forecasting of low-level winds and turbulence in both rural and urban environments with an eye to improving safety for unmanned aircraft systems flying in AAM operations.
“We’ve been using unmanned aircraft for a number for years to advance understanding of high impact weather,” Houston said. “This award is an opportunity to address challenges that stand in the way of the eventual fusion of unmanned aircraft-collected weather data with an aircraft traffic management system that will benefit future manned and unmanned aircraft operations.”
The University Leadership Initiative will provide a total of $32.8 million to the five teams during the next four years to address the strategic research thrusts of NASA. The Oklahoma State-led team will receive $5.2 million over four years and includes team lead Oklahoma State University in Stillwater; the University of Oklahoma in Norman; the University of Nebraska–Lincoln; the University of Kentucky in Lexington; Virginia Tech University, in Blacksburg; National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado; Vigilant Aerospace Systems Inc. in Oklahoma City; and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.