posted on Sep, 16 2003 @ 07:46 PM
There may be more to this than meets the eye.
The X-33 was supposed to replace the aging space shuttle. The Space Shuttle costs somewhere around $600 million dollars per launch, which is 30
times more than costs which are associated with the comparatively safer Russian Soyuz rocket that took Dennis Tito and a crew of two other cosmonauts
to the lone remaining international space station back in April of 2001.
Peculiarities emerged from how NASA handled the X-33 program, such as its controversially having awarded the entire contract to one lone provider
(Lockheed Martin) back in 1996, here in a country where competition usually is the chosen path.
The X-33 also involved a lot of unproven, "high risk" technologies that predictably did not yield worthwhile dividends.
It was almost as if decision-makers did not want the X-33 to succeed as it would bring down the cost of launching, from the current ($10,000 per
pound) that taxpayers pay to launch people on the Space Shuttle.
Coincidentally, perhaps, Lockheed also operates the Space Shuttle (through its United Space Alliance joint venture with Boeing).