Real-Time Systemwide Safety Assurance (RSSA)

Real-Time Systemwide Safety Assurance (RSSA)

In-time Aviation Safety Management System (IASMS)


As envisioned by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a real-time systemwide safety assurance (RSSA) is needed to provide a continuum of information, analysis and assessment that supports awareness and action to mitigate risks to safety. According to a 2018 report by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, NASA’s research plans state that development of an RSSA system for the national airspace system (NAS) will necessitate automating safety assurance of air transportation system components, integrating component-level systems, and reducing the safety assurance cycle time until real-time safety assurance is achieved at the system-of-systems level.

The safety assurance system will combine air traffic and onboard aircraft technologies as well as automated data mining capabilities for continuous safety monitoring and threat prediction.


The RSSA is thought necessary because of the growing traffic in the NAS, which includes the increasingly autonomous systems that are being developed for aircraft and ground systems, as well as small unmanned aircraft systems or drones.

In its report, the National Academy of Sciences said, “As the NAS evolves to accommodate these changes, aviation safety programs will also need to evolve to ensure that changes to the NAS do not inadvertently introduce new risks.”

In-time Aviation Safety Management System (IASMS)

The report stated that RSSA should be approached in terms of an in-time aviation safety management system (IASMS) “that continuously monitors the national airspace system, assesses the data that it has collected, and then either recommends or initiates safety assurance actions as necessary.” Some elements of the system would function in real time, or close to real time, while others would search for risks by examining trends over a time frame of hours, days or longer.


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