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Digital Transformation for Aerospace


Digital Transformation is the strategic transformation of an organization's processes and capabilities, driven and enabled by rapidly advancing and converging digital technologies, to dramatically enhance the organization's performance and efficiency. These advancing digital technologies include cloud computing, data analytics, artificial intelligence, blockchain, mobile access, Internet of Things (IoT), agile software development and processes, social media, and others. Their convergence is producing major transformations across industries - media and entertainment, retail, advertising, software, publishing, health care, travel, transportation, etc. Through digital transformation, organizations seek to gain or retain their competitive edge by becoming more aware of and responsive to both customer and employee interests, more agile in testing and implementing new approaches, and more innovative and prescient in pioneering the next wave of products and services. Central to the success digital transformation is the pervasive (and often transparent) gathering of data about everything that impacts success--the organization's processes, activities, competencies, products and services, customers, partners, industry, and so on. Organizations can mine this massive, complex, and often unstructured data to develop accurate insights into how to improve organizational performance and efficiency. An organization may also use this data to train machine learning algorithms to automate processes, provide recommendations, or enhance customer experiences. The digital technologies listed above are essential to generate, collect, transform, mine, analyze, and utilize this data across the enterprise. NASA is undertaking a digital transformation journey to enhance mission success and impact. NASA intends to leverage digital transformation to:

  • Boost innovation and creation of new knowledge.
  • Reduce cost and increase the effectiveness and efficiency of processes for everything from human resources to science and engineering.
  • Reduce the time to develop and mature new technologies.
  • Facilitate efficient design and development of advanced aerospace vehicles.
  • Ensure that increasingly complex missions are both cost-efficient and safe.
  • Achieve data-driven insights and decisions.
  • Increase autonomy in aerospace vehicles and ground facilities.
  • Engage an enthusiastic and talented workforce.
  • Maintain worldwide leadership in aerospace.

Through this focus area, NASA is seeking to help explore and develop technologies that may be critical to the Agency's successful digital transformation. Specific innovations being sought in this solicitation are:

  • Blockchain for aerospace applications, including its use in distributed space missions and in model-based systems engineering.
  • Intelligent digital assistants that reduce the cognitive workload of NASA personnel, from scientists and engineers to business and administrative staff.

Details about these applications of digital transformation technologies are in the respective subtopic descriptions.

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