Wired looked a bit more into the X-34 story:
A Wednesday call to Orbital Sciences, the original manufacturers of the X-34, resulted in a brief conversation with a bemused company official. Barry Berneski, Orbitalâ€™s communications director, said he had read the X-34 news, but had heard nothing on the subject from inside the firm. â€œThey might be just trying get it out of Edwardsâ€™ valuable real estate,â€ Berneski said of the 59-foot-long space planes, only one of which ever flew â€” and just once â€” before the program was canceled on cost grounds in 2001…
The idea to ship the X-34s to Mojave and inspect them originated with a Dryden-based NASA engineer, Brown said. â€œWhen he found out this thing stillÂ existed â€¦ he decided people should take a look to see if it could be refurbished and made flightworthy.â€ Thatâ€™s when the contractors came to retrieve the two neglected spacecraft, pictured above en route to the Mojave.
But that doesnâ€™t mean NASA has formal plans to operate the X-34s under its own auspices, now or ever, Brown stressed. Provided theyâ€™re in flyable shape, itâ€™s far more likely the space agency will make the X-34s available to private industry. â€œThere are a number of firms interested in these things, developing communications and other technologies,â€ Brown said. â€œIt would be helpful if they had a vehicle.â€
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