X-30 Aerospaceplane


The X-30 Aerospaceplane was a technology demonstator. It was a single stage to orbit passenger and light cargo craft taking off horizontally from a runway, flying to orbit and returning to earth and landing like a standard airplane.

X-30 Picture

The X-30 was to use scramjet (a supersonic ramjet) as propulsion and its propellants were liquid hydrogen and atmospheric oxygen.

It was also proposed that the X-30 could be modified into an airliner. By using the X-30’s scramjet propulsion, flights between any 2 points around the earth at mach 12 would take less tnan 2 hours. For this reason, the aerospace plane was referred to as the Orient Express.

X-30 1/3-scale concept demonstrator was built and was flown only in a high-temperature tunnel between 1986-1994.

The X-30 was cancelled in 1994.


Introduction to space by Thomas d. Ramon, (C)1989 Published by Orbit Book Company, ISBN 0-89464-028-3 (paperback), page 168.

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