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NASA cancels astronomy mission
Posted: Fri, Jun 8, 2012, 7:41 AM ET (1141 GMT)
GEMS spacecraft illustration (NASA/GSFC) Citing growing costs, NASA officials announced Thursday they were canceling a small x-ray astronomy mission that was still in the early stages of development. The Gravity and Extreme Magnetism Small Explorer (GEMS) mission failed to pass a confirmation review by NASA last week, and the decision not to continue development of the mission was formally confirmed by the agency on Thursday. Officials said development of the instruments needed for the spacecraft was proving to be more difficult than originally planned, driving up costs and leading to cost overruns of 20 to 30 percent above its $119-million cost cap, based on independent analyses of the project. NASA will spend about $50 million on GEMS, including termination costs. The mission, part of NASA's Explorer program of small astrophysics mission, had planned to launch in late 2014 to study x-ray emissions from the vicinity of supermassive black holes and neutron stars.
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