NASA and Lockheed Martin, meanwhile, had their own plans for a fully reusable spacecraft, the VentureStar, intended as an affordable replacement for the partially reusable space shuttle. The VentureStar demonstrator, called X-33 (which graced the cover of this magazine in 1996), was a squat, triangular rocket that would take off vertically and glide back to Earth just as the shuttle did. Eliminating the expendable rockets needed to boost the shuttle into space could theoretically reduce the cost of launches from $10,000 per pound to $1,000 per pound. But by 2001, after sinking more than $1 billion into the project, the agency pulled the plug, citing repeated technical setbacks and ballooning costs. "We backed off because we felt it was better to focus our efforts on other, less costly ways to get payloads to orbit," says Dan Dumbacher, NASA's deputy associate administrator for exploration systems development, who spent two years working on the X-33.