a reply to: FredT
The X-34 vehicles seem to have vanished. After the program was canceled they were moved from place to place around Edwards AFB for several years.
Parts of a third airframe were in storage with spare parts and miscellaneous support equipment. Eventually, everything ended up at North Base.
With the hangar doors open, X-34A-1 and X-34A-2 were exposed to some degree of weathering, as well as to damage caused by rodents and birds. In 2009,
the two vehicles were towed across the lakebed and onto the Precision Impact Range Area (PIRA), also known as the Edwards bombing range, where they
reportedly served as laser targets. On the PIRA, the composite airframes were exposed to a variety of weather conditions ranging from extreme heat to
extreme cold, strong winds, dust storms, and rain.
After the vehicles were moved to the PIRA, the spare parts and other equipment were disposed of as trash and scrap. Parts destined for the third
airframe lay o the North Base ramp like remnants of a giant model kit. The speed brakes and elevons from the X-34A-1 had been removed and placed in a
dumpster. I was working in the NASA Dryden history office at the time and I took it upon myself to rescue the speed brakes and outboard elevons (I
never did find the inboard elevons) and store them in a NASA warehouse in the event that someone might want to put them back on the vehicle
That day eventually came. Someone decided to remove the vehicles from the PIRA in early 2010. Unfortunately, they became stranded on the edge of the
lakebed due to inclement weather. A rain storm made the lakebed surface to wet to allow the vehicles to be towed across. So, they sat on the roadway
leading to the old East Shore Space Shuttle Public Viewing Site for several months, where they were clearly visible and accessible to anyone driving
by on the road connecting east Lancaster to Boron.
By early May 2010, the lakebed had dried out and the X-34 vehicles were returned to NASA Dryden and placed in outdoor storage near the Space Shuttle
area. I called several people to let them know where to find the speed brakes and elevons, and these items eventually disappeared from the
By 2012, the both X-34s had been transported to Mojave Airport, where they sat on the east end of the ramp. In September 2013 they were back at NASA
Dryden. The main landing gear of one of them had been given to Sierra Nevada Corporation for use on the Dream Chaser lifting body. It was one of those
gear that failed to deploy during the first Dream Chaser free flight, causing the lifting body to depart the runway and roll in the desert.
Sometime in 2017, both X-34 vehicles were moved to "temporary storage" at Smith's QuickCrane Inc. in Lancaster pending transport to a museum in
Florida. Two years later, the new owner had not yet collected the aircraft. By this time both vehicles were in very bad condition and in pieces. In
February 2019 Tyler Rogoway and Joseph Trevithick published a story and pictures on The Drive. Shortly afterward, a flatbed truck arrived at Smith's
QuickCrane and some "government type" told the proprietor that they were there to take the craft away.
Neither X-34 has been seen since. I made a number of inquires. Apparently, they are not at NASA Armstrong, the Edwards boneyard, the AF Flight Test
Museum, or the PIRA (a place where things sometimes get buried). There was a company at the time in Van Nuys that wanted to reverse engineer the X-34
but I don't know if they had any involvement with the disappearance.