Encyclopedia Astronautica
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.

Copper Canyon was a Defense 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 new materials, structures, and manufacturing processes. These included a composite hydrogen tank, a propellant utilization 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.

Crew Size: 1.

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Associated Countries
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Associated Launch Vehicles
  • 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. More...

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