Accession Number : ADA266979


Title :   National Aero-Space Plane: A Need for Program Direction and Funding Decisions


Corporate Author : GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC NATIONAL SECURITY AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS DIV


Full Text : https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a266979.pdf


Report Date : Jun 1993


Pagination or Media Count : 13


Abstract : The presidentially directed NASP Program is a joint Department of Defense (DoD)National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) technology development and demonstration program. The program's goal is to provide the technological basis for future space launch and hypersonic flight vehicles by developing critical or enabling technologies, such as the scramjet engine. DOD and NASA intended to demonstrate these technologies by building and testing the X-30, a manned experimental flight vehicle that is to be capable of single-stage-to-orbit (ssto) flight. The concept is to develop a vehicle that can take off horizontally from a runway; reach hypersonic speeds of up to 25 times the speed of sound (Mach 25); and attain low earth orbit, without the use of external booster rockets or propellant tanks. The program currently consists of three phases. Phase I (1982 to 1985), which preceded the formal initiation of the program, evaluated the feasibility and technical concept for an aerospace plane. Phase II (1985 to 1994) is a technology development and maturation phase. The program is in the final segment of phase II, which is intended to develop the critical technologies and manufacturing processes, build and test specific structural articles, and test a subscale engine to demonstrate the propulsion system's concept. A decision was to be made in September 1993 based on cost and technical maturity on whether to proceed into phase III, which involves designing, building, and testing the X-30. However, funding constraints and technical concerns have caused DOD and NASA to reconsider the timing of this decision and to restructure the current contract and associated technical efforts.


Descriptors :   *AEROSPACE CRAFT , *AEROSPACEPLANES , SPACECRAFT , HYPERSONIC AIRCRAFT , MANNED SPACECRAFT , RESEARCH AIRCRAFT , SPACE FLIGHT , SPACE SHUTTLES


Subject Categories : Research and Experimental Aircraft


Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE