NASA has awarded $73 million to San Jose State University to participate in research on how people interact with new technology that will be introduced during an overhaul of the nation’s air traffic control system.
The five-year grant announced this week is the largest award the university has ever received from the federal government, campus spokeswoman Pat Lopes Harris said.
NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., selected San Jose State psychology and human factors professor Kevin Jordan to lead a research project that will also involve Ames scientists, other faculty members and university graduate students.
Jordan has collaborated with NASA before on projects integrating human skills with aircraft flight decks, air-traffic management systems and mission planning and scheduling technologies on the International Space Station.
Public and private universities offering graduate degrees in Human Factors — an academic discipline that covers topics such as human error, workplace safety, ergonomics and human-computer interactions — were eligible to compete for the NASA award. NASA has not disclosed if any other schools were considered besides San Jose State, Jordan said.
Among the research areas covered by the grant are the new satellite-based air traffic-control system the Federal Aviation Administration has launched with the goal of reducing flight delays, creating more direct plane routes and reducing aircraft fuel consumption. The partnership also is expected to include work on the U.S. Space Launch System, a new rocket designed to “take astronauts farther into space than ever before,” according to NASA.
With an enrollment of 28,000 students, San Jose State is Silicon Valley’s largest university. The Ames Research Center, located nine miles away, specializes in such aspects of space exploration as supercomputing, heat protection and astrobiology.