The Tragic Tale Of How NASA’s X-34 Space Planes Ended Up Rotting In Someone’s Backyard

The X-34 program aimed to help break NASA and the Air Force into space far more frequently and inexpensively than ever before. In the end, a pair of rocket plane demonstrators were built, but they never were able to reach their full potential. Still, they were part of a wider family of initiatives that have resulted in the Air Force’s hugely successful X-37B mini-space plane that has remained in orbit near continuously for years. But after the shine on the program quickly faded around the turn of the Millennium, the unique craft found themselves in increasingly dire straits, stuffed in one dilapidated hangar or another, or weathering the harsh desert climate in the open. 

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