With the final launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour and only one more launch before the program is retired, NASA officially announced the shuttle's replacement today: the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV). How uninspiring of a name is that?
Why did NASA quietly move two long-grounded X-34 space planes for inspection? Did they want to see if they could fly? Were they eyeing a return to space via reusable, airplane-style vehicles? Here's what they were doing and why.