Black Horse News!
Mitchell Burnside Clapp, the proposer of the Black Horse and the
principal advocate of aerial propellant transfer spaceplanes, has
announced his intention to separate from the United States Air Force.
He will continue developing the aerial propellant transfer spaceplane
concept as a commercial venture, named Pioneer Rocketplane, along with
Zubrin, Rutan, Aldrin and others. Pioneer
Rocketplane has submitted a bid for the X-34 NASA
Research Agreement (NRA) to design and build a subscale reusable
It is rumored that the commercial vehicle will be named
"Pathfinder", which is apparently unrelated to NASA's Mars Pathfinder
probe. Likewise, Pioneer Rocketplane is apparently not related to the
Pioneer Aerospace involved with the Mars Pathfinder parachute system.
On 10 June 1996, NASA awarded the X-34 to OSC, the company that
failed on the first incarnation of the X-34 NRA.
On a related note, according to Doug Hendrix quoting the
Huntsville Times, there were 9 bidders for X-34, which were:
- du-pont Aerospace
- Northrop Grumman
- Lockheed Skunkworks
- McDonnell Douglas
- Truax Engineering
- Space Access
- Pioneer Rocketplane
More recent information may be available at the Pioneer Rocketplane web site.
While I believe that this information is accurate, no guarantee
of correctness is made or implied.
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