The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) initiated the current X-34 program in 1996 as part of the U.S. Space Agencie's effort to dramatically reduce the cost of access to space. The X-34 is the First in a series of 'Pathfinder' vehicles designed to conduct flight testing of key launch vehicle technologies at low cost. The X-34 program has moved rapidly from the drawing board to hardware buildup with the first flight scheduled for 1999. The development of the X-34 has been accomplished by a unique blend of industry and government organizations and personnel working closely together. The program will provide rocket-powered winged vehicles that can fly sub-orbital missions in support of advanced reusable launch vehicle (RLV) technology development. In addition, the X-34 vehicles will represent a hypersonic testbed for advanced experiments in the aeronautical sciences.