Huntsville, AL--NASA and Lockheed Martin have announced
restructuring of the X-33 reusable spaceplane demonstrator program. The vehicle,
which was previously slated to make its first flight this year, won't liftoff
now until 2003 (see Design News 9/6/1999, p. 82 or www.manufacturing.net/magazine/dn/archives/1999/dn0906.99/feature1.html
for technology details).
The vehicle's carbon-composite liquid-hydrogen fuel tank failed
load testing last November due to microcracks in its structure. The vehicle is
currently about three-quarters completed and 95% of its components have been
built and delivered. Except for a new aluminum hydrogen tank, which is being
designed, the demonstrator is to be completed by the end of this year. Gene
Austin, NASA program manager at the Marshall Space Flight Center says, "The
aluminum tank design still permits us to demonstrate the technologies for a
reusable, single-stage, next-generation vehicle."
The revamped program calls for greater emphasis on mission safety
and additional ground demonstration of critical technology prior to first
flight. No additional NASA funds are needed through March 2001. Lockheed Martin
will compete for the additional funding needed to complete the project under the
agency's Space Launch Initiative program.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.