The X-30 National Aero-Space Plane (NASP) was an attempt by the United States to create a viable single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO) spacecraft. The project was cancelled prior to the first craft being built.
NASP originated from a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) project called Copper Canyon that ran from 1982 to 1985. In his 1986 State of the Union address, President Ronald Reagan called for “…a new Orient Express that could, by the end of the next decade, take off from Dulles Airport, accelerate up to 25 times the speed of sound, attaining low earth orbit or flying to Tokyo within two hours.”
(Above) 1986 artist’s concept of X-30 on liftoff.
(Above) 1986 artist’s concept of NASP X-30 approaching Space Station Freedom.
(Above) Rockwell’s concept art for the X-30 NASP.
(Above) General Dynamics concept art for the X-30 NASP.