Boeing Electronic Dynamic Devices (www.boeing.com) has won three NASA contracts for advanced xenon ion propulsion technologies. The projects include the NASA evolutionary xenon thruster system, the carbon-based ion optics project, and the high-power electric propulsion project. Designs developed and demonstrated in these programs in the next two and a half years will become the critical technologies in the development of very high power (100 to 250 kW) nuclear electric propulsion systems for future deep space missions.
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 discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.