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PICTURES: NASA moves X-34s out of storage, considers return to flight status

Two X-planes parked in storage by NASA for nearly 10 years have been moved to a new facility to be inspected for a possible return to flying status, the agency says.

Orbital Sciences Corp will determine whether the X-34s are still viable as technology demonstrators for reusable space vehicles.

 
©Rebecca Amber/MojaveWest Media Works
Orbital Sciences X-34 spacecraft arrives in Mojave, California, on 16 November after being moved out of storage at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Centre.
Both X-34s have been stored at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center near Palmdale, California since the hypersonic spaceflight programme was cancelled in 2001.

Neither aircraft was flown under its own power before being moved into storage, although one vehicle completed three captive carry tests from an Orbital Sciences-owned Lockheed L-1011.

A NASA contractor moved both X-34's overnight on 16 November, trucking the aircraft with their vertical tails removed from Dryden to a hangar owned by the National Test Pilot school in Mojave, California.

 
NASA
A NASA drawing released before the programme was cancelled shows the X-34 in flight above the atmosphere.

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