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 hypersonic demonstrator.

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:
  1. du-pont Aerospace
  2. Northrop Grumman
  3. Lockheed Skunkworks
  4. McDonnell Douglas
  5. Truax Engineering
  6. Space Access
  7. Pioneer Rocketplane
  8. OSC
  9. Rockwell

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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