NASA kills X-ray telescope, blames project's cost

5:13 PM, Jun 7, 2012   |    comments
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CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida - NASA has killed a new X-ray telescope mission, two years before its planned launch.

The space agency on Thursday announced the cancellation of the GEMS project. The Gravity and Extreme Magnetism Small Explorer mission was supposed to blast off in 2014 to study black holes and neutron stars.

But external reviews found the project would likely come in over budget. NASA says GEMS was selected under a strict cost cap, unlike the price-busting James Webb Space Telescope to be launched in 2018.

GEMS was supposed to hold at $119 million, not counting the rocket. NASA's astrophysics director, Paul Hertz, says the technology needed for the instrument took longer to develop than expected, and that drove up the price.

MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer

The Associated Press

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