Lockheed Martin has failed to attract private investment for its proposed VentureStar single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO) re-usable launch vehicle. The company says it will need government funding or loan guarantees to allow development.

Without this, the project will not go forward, says Peter Teets, Lockheed Martin president and chief executive, who adds that the company will not invest in the project .

Lockheed Martin , with $1 billion aid from NASA, is developing the X-33 sub-orbital technology demonstrator for the VentureStar, but has hit technological problems, delaying its first flight until the middle of 2000.

Lockheed Martin had conceded that, for the fully fledged SSTO VentureStar to reach orbit, it would need assistance from strap-on boosters. The VentureStar was originally seen as a potential replacement for the Space Shuttle.

Source: Flight International