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NASA kills X-33 and X-34 programs
Updated: Thu, Mar 1, 2001, 11:53 PM ET (0453 GMT)
Originally Posted: Thu, Mar 1, 2001, 5:21 PM ET (2221 GMT)
X-33 illustration NASA announced Thursday that the X-33 and X-34 launch vehicle technology programs would not be funded by the agency's Space Launch Initiative (SLI) programs, effecting killing both projects. In a press release Thursday afternoon the agency said funding for the X-33 project would end when a cooperative agreement with Lockheed Martin ends at the end of the month, while the agency will terminate its X-34 contract with Orbital Sciences Corporation on Friday. In both cases the agency said the benefits of continuing the two programs did not justify the cost, and decided to not apply SLI funding towards them. Lockheed Martin could continue work on the X-33 using its own funding, the agency noted, but company officials told Spaceflight Now it is unlikely they will pursue that course. SLI funding will instead go towards technology development focused on vehicles that can deliver satellites and provide resupply for the International Space Station. The agency said it had selected several companies to enter "competitive negotiations" with for SLI funding; contract awards for those deals will be announced starting in April.
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