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.
The supply chain will change significantly over the next 10 years as industry 4.0 technology enhances supply chain performance, according to the 2015 MHI Annual Industry Report, “Supply Chain Innovation — Making the impossible possible.”
United Launch Alliance will fly 3D-printed flight hardeware parts on its rockets starting next year with the Atlas V. The company's Vulcan next-gen launch vehicle will have more than 100 production parts made with 3D printing. The main driver? Parts consolidation and 57% lower production costs.
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