Orbital Sciences X-34 (1999)
About the Design
In the early 1990s, with NASA's space shuttle proving to be increasingly expensive and unreliable, the space agency began looking into new, simpler reusable launch systems. The X-34 was Orbital Sciences' entry into the reusable launch vehicle race. An unmanned spaceplane powered by a single Marshall MC-1 Fastrac rocket engine, the craft was designed to be carried aloft by a specially modified L-11011 jetliner. Once dropped, it would be capable of reaching altitudes of up to 250 kilometers before returning to earth and landing like a conventional aircraft.
Three X-34s were supposed to be built as technology demonstrators. However, two years after the X-34's 1999 rollout and before the first flight test could be made, the project was cancelled. The design was subsequently acquired by the US SpaceDev startup company that hoped to build a manned version to compete in the Ansari X-Prize competition. Called "Dream Chaser," the civilian spaceplane was never built.
About the Kit
This was large, albeit it simple all-resin kit from Anigrand of Hong Kong. Being based on an unmanned vehicle, the model had one excellent feature: no vacuform canopy!
The model was built from an original issue.