New Albion (INN) - A New Anglian Confederation space agency, under pressure to slash its operating costs, said Tuesday it was eliminating the smaller of its two Faster Than Light drive projects, designated project X-2.
"There will not be any more X-2 trials following the test of the J-4 drive, scheduled for June, 2183," said Ahira Tanakira, spokesman for the New Anglian Confederate Space Development Agency (NACSDA), a government-endorsed space organization.
Instead, he said, NACSDA will devote all it's energies and current budget to finish developing the J-4 drive. But this will mean importing parts from the Neu Swabian League.
"We will ask that domestic companies take charge of the actual development of the FTL drive, but many parts will be imported from the NSL, where some inexpensive but good quality items are available."
The decision to eliminate the project follows a 2181 report by the Management and Coordination Committee (MCC) showing that the X-2 FTL development program, and the concurrent research FTL development program sponsored by the Royal Institute of Space and Astro Sciences (RISAS), each cost more than similar development projects in other interstellar nations, he said.
The report, which noted that both programs lacked budget controls and goals, recommended that the X-2 be eliminated unless costs were brought down.
The first X-2 FTL drive, tested in 2179, cost 48 MUcr, two to four times the cost of a similar drive program being researched by the Eurasian Solar Union.
Tanakira said the decision was made to abandon the X-2 project after investigations showed it would be difficult to keep costs under 20 MUcr per rocket as recommended by the MCC report. The cost of building and testing the J-4 is expected to total 35 MUcr.
The cost target for the new drive made with foreign parts is set at around 30 MUcr, he added.
The New Anglian Confederation's space program has often been criticised for its high costs and frequent mishaps, attributed in part to the division of responsibility for the program among no fewer than five government ministries.
An official at the Royal Ministry on Education said it too had been asked to cut the cost of developing its newest FTL drive, designated MR17.
He added that, as a result, the ministry planned to trim some 4.5 MUcr off the total 68 MUcr cost. "But our researchers tell us this may be quite hard."