Mesh by Matr5153.
The X-30 National Aerospace Plane (or NASP) was a single-stage-to-orbit runway-launched vehicle which used airbreathing engines most, or all, of the way to orbit.Â
Â Â Â Â In the end, it was not to be.Â Uncertainties in the aerodynamics meant that no one could be certain to how high a Mach number a scramjet could continue to provide positive thrust.Â That number was continually revised downwards, until the X-30 was boosting on pure rocket power from Mach 14 to Mach 25.Â This doomed the concept, as, with all the installed weight necessary for scramjets and LH2 tankage, the X-30 made a poor rocket.
Â Â Â Â NASP and X-30 were never officially cancelled, but simply petered out into the normal low level of hypersonic scramjet studies toward the end of 1993.
Â Â Â Â The X-30 modeled here is the âmergedâ configuration, with performance as estimated before 1990.Â This version flies almost all the way to orbit while breathing air.
Â Â Â Â In this add-on, two versions of the X-30 are included.Â X-30 tail #1 is a pure X-ship, with a very small payload and a small payload / instrumentation bay behind the flight crew.Â It suffices to put a small satellite in orbit.Â X-30 tail #2 is a revised âX-30Bâ model (a designation invented for purposes of this add-on) which improves the dry weight, improves the scramjet performance, and moves the payload bay to a larger one in the top center of the craft.Â This approximates the promises of future NASP-derived vehicles.