Encyclopedia Astronautica
Copper Canyon


American winged orbital launch vehicle. DARPA program of 1984 that proved the technologies and concept for the X-30 National Aerospace Plane concept.

Copper Canyon was a Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency program of 1984 that studied an air-breathing SSTO concept. The concept was considered validated and led to the X-30 National Aerospace Plane project of 1986, at the expense of the USAF AMSC.Concepts used in the X-30 included newmaterials, structures, and manufacturing processes. These included a composite hydrogen tank, a propellant utilisation fraction of 0.74, carbon-carbon aerodynamic surfaces, high temperature heat pipe sharp leading edges, use of computational flow dynamics to model the aerodynamic shape, and slush hydrogen as a fuel.

Status: Cancelled 1984.

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Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Copper Canyon American manned spaceplane. Study 1984. DARPA program of 1984 that proved the technologies and concept for the X-30 National Aerospace Plane concept. More...

See also
  • Winged In the beginning, nobody (except Jules Verne) thought anybody would be travelling to space and back in ballistic cannon balls. The only proper way for a space voyager to return to earth was at the controls of a real winged airplane. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • DARPA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (formerly ARPA), USA. More...

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