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NASA to discontinue $2 billion satellite servicing project on higher costs, schedule delays

Astronauts arrive before launch to the International Space Station, in Cape Canaveral

(Reuters) - NASA said on Friday it is shutting down a more than $2 billion project to test satellite servicing like fueling in space, citing higher costs and schedule delays.

The space agency said in October that the On-orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing 1 (OSAM-1) project continues to face an increase in costs and is expected to exceed its $2.05 billion price tag and the December 2026 launch date.

For its decision to discontinue the project, NASA on Friday cited "continued technical, cost, and schedule challenges, and a broader community evolution away from refueling unprepared spacecraft, which has led to a lack of a committed partner".

Much of the project's cost growth and scheduling delays could be attributed to the "poor" performance of contractor Maxar, NASA said in October.

Maxar was previously contracted by NASA in 2019 to help build its Gateway platform in lunar orbit, a crucial outpost for America's first mission to relay astronauts to the moon.

(Reporting by Harshita Mary Varghese and Zaheer Kachwala in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)