White House budget documents reveal that development of a second-generation reusable launch vehicle (RLV) to replace the Space Shuttle would cost $35 billion rather than the $10 billion originally estimated by NASA.

Realisation of the true cost was one reason why NASA restructured the Space Launch Initiative, shifting focus to near-term development of a crew transport spaceplane for the International Space Station, to be launched by expendable booster, and continued upgrades to the shuttle to keep it flying until 2020. Work on a second-generation RLV has been scaled back under the restructured Next Generation Launch Technology programme, and a decision on whether to proceed with full-scale development of a shuttle replacement was delayed from 2006 to 2009.

Source: Flight International