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.