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Prognostics is an engineering discipline utilizing in-situ monitoring and analysis to assess system degradation trends, and determine remaining useful life. This paper discusses the benefits of prognostics in terms of system life-cycle processes, such as design and development, production, operations, logistics support, and maintenance. Challenges for prognostics technologies from the viewpoint of both system designers and users will be addressed. These challenges include implementing optimum sensor systems and settings, selecting applicable prognostics methods, addressing prognostic uncertainties, and estimating the cost-benefit implications of prognostics implementation. The research opportunities are summarized as well.