National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

CNS Modeling & Simulation

Airspace Concept Evaluation System (ACES)

Developed by NASA for Simulating the physical movement of aircraft in the NAS

  • Simulates NAS entities (ATCSCC, ARTCC, TRACON ATC, Airport ATC, Aircraft).
  • Simulates NAS ATM operations (TFM, CDR, Separation rules, Sector restrictions, etc).
  • Enables testing of alternative roles and forecasting methods for ATM Command and Control.
  • Models the dynamic interaction between NAS Agents.
  • Used for analyzing Airspace Concepts; developing decision support and automation tools.
  • Fast-time, nationwide simulation can include one to thousands of flights.
  • Full flight schedule with flight plans, 4-D gridded winds, gate-to-gate operations.
  • High-fidelity 4-D aircraft trajectory models; aircraft physical models; pilot-based control.

Airspace Concept Evaluation System with Communications, Navigation and Surveillance (AwCNS) Modeling and Simulation Capability

Developed at GRC to add CNS functions into ACES Simulation Environment

  • CNS enhancements added during development for realistic Flight / ATC / ATM / CNS interactions.
  • Models include: VHF/Voice, CPDLC over VDL2, GPS and VOR/DME Nav, SSR and ADS-B Surv
  • Generates detailed CNS system performance data in NAS-wide, air traffic environment.
  • Provides flexibility for integration of new models (process already established).
  • Fully configurable for Aircraft/CNS System equipage and varying CNS system parameters.
  • Takes full advantage of ACES functionality including NAS Entities and ATM/Flight Operations.


  • Discrete event simulation package
    • Processes
    • Protocols and Applications
    • Devices
    • Communications systems
  • Includes hundreds of protocols and devices
  • New protocols and devices can be created
  • Modular design
  • Supports fixed, mobile, and satellite nodes

Other Simulation and Modeling Tools

  • Satellite Toolkit
    • Visualization Capabilities
  • MatLab

NASA Glenn Partners in Simulation/Modeling/Analysis

  • Cleveland State University
  • Ohio University
  • CNS Inc.
  • IAI
  • Mulkerin Associates
  • Seagull Technologies
  • ITT Inc.

Additional Information