NASA pulled the plug Feb. 12 on a Kennedy Space Center ground-support-contract solicitation that had attracted bids from Boeing and space shuttle operator United Space Alliance.

The U.S. space agency requested bids last year for the Exploration Ground Launch Services (EGLS) contract to provide flight support for the Ares 1 crew launch vehicle, part of the Constellation program President Barack Obama intends to cancel.

“In light of recent events and the uncertainty of future ground processing requirements for fiscal year 2011 and beyond, it is in NASA’s best interest to cancel the current solicitation,” NASA wrote in a Feb. 12 letter posted on its acquisition Web site. “A procurement strategy for future program ground operations requirements will be developed as such requirements are identified.”

NASA had been planning to award the next-generation ground-support contract in April.