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Haven't seen that Blackstar recently?

flateric

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Boeing 1982-1983 TSTO concept, IRAD work completed under USAF/Battele Labs contract
Patent No. 4,802,639, 1989
 

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flateric

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More images from patent
 

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flateric

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Basing on 1982-83 concept and armed with NASP sad experience, Boeing offered new TSTO concept in 1993, Orbiter would be either rocket powered or NASP-derived airbreather
 

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flateric

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Extra images
 

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aemann

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Here's a few basic renders I did some years ago.
 

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flateric

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Have found these great CGI renderings of TSTO concept at www.robotpig.net
 

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flateric

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remaining pics...
 

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Boeing models No.896-1256 & No.896-128 (Boeing 1993 RLV TSTO program). Published in Alexandre Szames, "Contre-enquete sur le mysterieux Blackstar" [Blackstar mystery counter-analysis], Air & Cosmos, 24/03/2006, pp.26-28
 

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overscan (PaulMM)

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Boeing 896-111 CAV/TAV study

http://www.dtic.mil/srch/doc?collection=t2&id=ADA259291
 

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blackstar

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About three years ago, William Scott, who wrote the Blackstar cover story for Aviation Week in March 2006, claimed that he had acquired some photos of the vehicle and that he would be able to refute his critics. This was around the time his book Space Wars came out, so it would have been late 2006 or early 2007.

Has he ever said anything more about this? Obviously he has not released any photos.
 

XP67_Moonbat

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Yeah right, he probably just wanted to stir up some attention for his book.
 

blackstar

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I found the interview:

http://www.kurzweilai.net/meme/frame.html?main=/articles/art0702.html

It dates from April 2007. In it Scott states:

"Ref. the Blackstar system: I now have several photos of the XOV spaceplane sitting on a Lockheed Martin flightline ramp, so the vehicle definitely exists. Based on 15+ years of sighting reports, inside sources, etc., I determined that Blackstar's SR-3 carrier aircraft and several versions of the XOV were built and flown."

So that was two years ago. Has he released the photos anywhere?
 

flateric

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well, three years after story seems more and more asking for credibility and proof...that it doesn't get at all
 

OM

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flateric said:
well, three years after story seems more and more asking for credibility and proof...that it doesn't get at all

...He'd love to show them to us, but then he'd have to kill us.
 

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Sorry to bump this old thread.

I've made this renderings at 2006, since then I have updated the article and corrected some mistakes (ex the orbiter's render lacks some fuel/oxidizer tanks). You can read the updated article with larger and slightly better images here:

http://robotpig.net/__aerospace/tsto.php
 

Antonio

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A higher rez picture of Boeing Model 896-128 mothership from Air & Cosmos magazine hors-serie #45
 

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XP67_Moonbat

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It's about to be 2013 and we're still waiting on those supposed XOV pics. Personally I call BS on that.
 

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I have a picture of a flying saucer that landed in my backyard. No really. I'll release a picture of it someday. . .
 

blackstar

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XP67_Moonbat said:
It's about to be 2013 and we're still waiting on those supposed XOV pics. Personally I call BS on that.

I've seen people do this before, implying that they have the evidence as a way of intimidating their critics into silence. But Scott was so specific about having photos of the vehicle "on the flightline" that I was left scratching my head. If you say something like that, you figure that eventually somebody will call you on it. You either have to prove that you've got the goods or you look really stupid. I just never understood that. Only thing that makes sense is that he was shooting off his mouth when he said that and wasn't thinking very carefully.
 

Stargazer2006

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Imagine a guy in the late 1950s who got knowledge of the A-12/SR-71 program...
Or a guy in the late 1960s who saw stuff about ISINGLASS...
Or a guy in the early 1980s talking of a whole squadron of secret attack fighters being flown secretly in the desert (the F-117A)...

If they'd let some info in the open accidentally, were told off by their hierarchy and then backed off, people would have scorned and ridiculed them in the same way. And yet it took a whole decade or more until the programs became public knowledge.

When information is confidential, it can be withheld for decades, that doesn't mean the facts reported are bullshit.

We are still seeing material from the 1950s being declassified after 60 years... So it doesn't seem ridiculous to me that someone may have seen something, talked about it, then was pressurized by whomever to back off on the story on grounds of national security.
 

sferrin

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Occam's Razor. We've seen people make stuff up / misidentify things FAR more often.
 

blackstar

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Stargazer2006 said:
Imagine a guy in the late 1950s who got knowledge of the A-12/SR-71 program...
Or a guy in the late 1960s who saw stuff about ISINGLASS...
Or a guy in the early 1980s talking of a whole squadron of secret attack fighters being flown secretly in the desert (the F-117A)...

If they'd let some info in the open accidentally, were told off by their hierarchy and then backed off, people would have scorned and ridiculed them in the same way. And yet it took a whole decade or more until the programs became public knowledge.

When information is confidential, it can be withheld for decades, that doesn't mean the facts reported are bullshit.

We are still seeing material from the 1950s being declassified after 60 years... So it doesn't seem ridiculous to me that someone may have seen something, talked about it, then was pressurized by whomever to back off on the story on grounds of national security.

I am not sure if you are referring to Mr. Scott, who wrote about this for Aviation Week, or people who actually knew about some highly classified military spaceplane.

Your version of events doesn't fit for Scott, because he wrote a cover story article for Aviation Week about it. It was met with a fair amount of skepticism, although lots of people assumed that because the story was in Aviation Week, it must be true, or must at least be partially true.

My problem with the article was that if you read it skeptically, it didn't add up to much. It seemed like he strung together a bunch of stories that he heard second or third-hand, and not from anybody who might have actually been involved. It also sounded like he pieced together a bunch of stories that probably were not connected at all. And it also seemed like some of the stories would fall apart if you applied much scrutiny to them. I wrote a long critique of the article and my basic point was that it just didn't stand up to scrutiny. At no point did he have any source that said "I worked on it and it did X, Y and Z."

Anyway, so Aviation Week ran the story, and it got criticized a bit, and then nothing more came out about it. Nothing at all. And then a few years later Scott claimed that he had photos of the vehicle that would silence his critics. And then five years after that--today--we still have not seen his alleged photos. At some point you gotta stop giving somebody the benefit of the doubt, they either have to support their claims or concede.

My own theory is that he convinced himself that lots of little stories that he heard from the secret aircraft enthusiast crowd were all connected, and so he connected the dots, filled in a lot of the story on his own, and somehow managed to convince Aviation Week's editors that they should run the story. But his editors should have asked for more proof. And if a few years later he claimed he had photos, they should have gotten him to write another article and use the photos.
 

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sferrin said:
Occam's Razor. We've seen people make stuff up / misidentify things FAR more often.


It also applies if he does have photographs, because then the most likely explanation for their non-appearance is that somebody gave him an uncomfortably personal briefing on various National Security laws. Or offered him a scoop when/if it goes white world in exchange for the negs. Or both.
 

blackstar

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Gridlock said:
sferrin said:
Occam's Razor. We've seen people make stuff up / misidentify things FAR more often.


It also applies if he does have photographs, because then the most likely explanation for their non-appearance is that somebody gave him an uncomfortably personal briefing on various National Security laws. Or offered him a scoop when/if it goes white world in exchange for the negs. Or both.

The laws don't work like that. They can be used to prosecute people for leaking, but not journalists who have received classified material.

Is it easier to believe that there were Men in Black, or that he was making stuff up?
 

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Look at it this way- Think of the V-22, F-22, and F-35 programs. Hell, look at the Boeing 787. If it takes years of protracted development, blind alleys, massive delays and cost overruns to make stuff that while advanced, is nowhere near these "secret" projects. Why would they bother? How come these super advanced projects don't run into delays and overruns? Consider what these projects cost. You can't hide that kind of dough, you can't counts and lots and lots of people keeping their mouths shut.
 

Stargazer2006

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royabulgaf said:
Consider what these projects cost. You can't hide that kind of dough, you can't counts and lots and lots of people keeping their mouths shut.

In theory, yes, I agree. But think of the F-117. First flight was 1981. First operational use was 1983. The aircraft was only revealed in 1988 and by that time, all 59 aircraft had already been produced and flown.

Think of Tacit Blue... First flown in 1982 and revealed circa 1995.

Also think of the McDonnell Douglas Bird of Prey. First flew in 1996 I think. Was only revealed a whole decade later.

These examples prove that it is possible to get technologically sensitive types developed and get people to remain quiet about it. Of course it also helps if the project is 1°) company-funded, and 2°) not assigned any DoD designation or markings, and 3°) test-flown in the desert ranges of Nevada...
 

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sferrin said:
Occam's Razor. We've seen people make stuff up / misidentify things FAR more often.


...CIP: There's at least one "brand new" Moon Hoax Moron video popping up on YouTube each month claiming to show "incontrovertible video proof" that the Moon landings were all faked. Same horse-hockey, different dead horse.


Ah well, at least nobody new is claiming the SRBs crossed through the middle of Challenger's ET... :eek:
 

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Or the one about the secret Yugoslavian space program.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfJiNPZ38kY
 

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the secret operational squadron of F-117A is a fascinating example, for an interesting discussion on how successful the security measures surrounding the nighthawks were (I would say not very successful), see the link below
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,1040.msg161634.html#msg161634

Hindsight is always 20:20 vision, however from reading "cracks in the black dike"it's clear that the F-117A was not as secret as intended, if operational squadrons of black aircraft currently exist, the security measures surrounding them must be even more encapsulating. There will be people outside the military who will know "The F-117 comes out of the black - Perhaps the story was most anticlimactic in Tonopah where the F-117As were based. The front page of the Tonopah Times-Bonanza proclaimed, "Surprise, surprise--it exists."56

I wonder if we can use the stealth fighter example to sort the wheat from the chaff (no pun intended) when it comes to black aircraft? My own feeling is that the Blackstar system is "chaff" (pun intended) possibly for masking a fast mover project (which almost certainly failed)... but it would be so much more interesting if I'm wrong.

Time will tell...
 

sferrin

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royabulgaf said:
Look at it this way- Think of the V-22, F-22, and F-35 programs. Hell, look at the Boeing 787. If it takes years of protracted development, blind alleys, massive delays and cost overruns to make stuff that while advanced, is nowhere near these "secret" projects. Why would they bother? How come these super advanced projects don't run into delays and overruns? Consider what these projects cost. You can't hide that kind of dough, you can't counts and lots and lots of people keeping their mouths shut.

I wouldn't go that far. The Blackbird was flying before anybody knew about it. The F-117 was in service before anybody knew about it. The Boeing Bird of Prey had finished it's entire flight test program and retired without anybody knowing about it.
 

GeorgeA

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Note also that the existence of the F-117 and B-2 was not completely secret -- Northrop even put out a press release noting that it had been selected as the prime for the ATB, and there was a cottage industry that grew up around speculation about their funding methods, configuration, and capabilities, in magazines, books, and other media of the day.
 

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sferrin said:
I wouldn't go that far. The Blackbird was flying before anybody knew about it. The F-117 was in service before anybody knew about it. The Boeing Bird of Prey had finished it's entire flight test program and retired without anybody knowing about it.

I wouldn't go that far either.

However, on the issue of the F-117, a few years ago I went digging through old Aviation Weeks looking for what they were writing about stealth before the planes were publicly revealed. There was actually a fairly detailed article in AWST around the mid-1980s. Nothing on the technology, but they had many of the programmatic details right, including the early crash, and the overall development angle.

It is possible to keep things secret. And there are often minor leaks that can be assembled into a crude outline of a program. One of my problems with the Blackstar article was that I wasn't sure that the dots the reporter was connecting came from the same program. Another problem was that he didn't do a good job of running down some of the leads that he did have--for instance, the whole "they built a third B-70" claim.
 

sferrin

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blackstar said:
sferrin said:
I wouldn't go that far. The Blackbird was flying before anybody knew about it. The F-117 was in service before anybody knew about it. The Boeing Bird of Prey had finished it's entire flight test program and retired without anybody knowing about it.

I wouldn't go that far either.

However, on the issue of the F-117, a few years ago I went digging through old Aviation Weeks looking for what they were writing about stealth before the planes were publicly revealed. There was actually a fairly detailed article in AWST around the mid-1980s. Nothing on the technology, but they had many of the programmatic details right, including the early crash, and the overall development angle.

It is possible to keep things secret. And there are often minor leaks that can be assembled into a crude outline of a program. One of my problems with the Blackstar article was that I wasn't sure that the dots the reporter was connecting came from the same program. Another problem was that he didn't do a good job of running down some of the leads that he did have--for instance, the whole "they built a third B-70" claim.

Back in those days everybody assumed it was the "F-19" but yeah, there were a lot of rumors about it before it was announced officially. There were also rumors of what ended up being Tacit Blue circulating around that time. "Shamu" as I recall.
 

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sferrin said:
Back in those days everybody assumed it was the "F-19" but yeah, there were a lot of rumors about it before it was announced officially. There were also rumors of what ended up being Tacit Blue circulating around that time. "Shamu" as I recall.

there were more than just rumors, a lot was known years before it was officially announced

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,1040.msg161634.html#msg161634

"Cracks in the black dike"
10 August 1980, Aviation Week & Space Technology, the Washington Post, and ABC News all carried stories about stealth. The items were based on information from unofficial sources and stated that stealth technology was being developed for a variety of aircraft (including bombers). The reports also explained what stealth technology was, what it might do, and vaguely described what such features would consist of: RAM and curved surfaces.

22 August 1980, Secretary of Defense Harold Brown held a press conference to clarify the stealth "leak." At the conference, Brown confirmed the details published in the media. The purpose of confirming the leaks, Brown insisted, was to create a "firebreak" and prevent further information about the program being revealed. The philosophy of the Reagan administration, which took the reins from the Carter administration in early 1981, had a much more conservative slant. For stealth projects this meant moving them "into the black" where they did not officially exist. While this proved all but impossible for programs like the stealth fighter, which were publicly acknowledged before the transition of power, it was done nevertheless. Information available to the public on stealth technology all but dried up, but the technical media kept rather accurate track of the programs anyway, although details were lacking and were occasionally in error. Reports in the popular media about the aircraft usually surfaced when an accident occurred.

June 1981, an issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology regarding bomber proposals mentioned some interesting facts about the stealth fighter. The report mentioned that the Lockheed demonstrator was currently flying against Soviet equipment, presumably in Nevada. The aircraft were described as physically "rounded." A Pentagon official, whowas not named, described the technology as working "better than we have a right to expect." The article also made reference to a fighter-sized stealth aircraft designed by Northrop that was expected to have its first flight "soon."22

July 1981, A demonstration of just how far the Reagan administration was willing togo with keeping stealth technology secret can be seen in statements by Air Force Secretary Verne Orr. Contradicting what Secretary of Defense Harold Brown had stated the year before and disregarding reports of several years in the technical media, Orr called the stealth bomber a "paper airplane" and "wishful thinking." He also expressed doubt that American industry could handle such a "rush program," when in fact the F-117A was developed in record time.24 Aviation Week & Space Technology continued to obtain and print reports of the stealth fighter's progress despite the new official line of the aircraft's nonexistence. Nearly three months after Secretary Orr's denial, a report in the magazine's "Washington Roundup" stated that production for the stealth fighter had been funded with $1 billion for the 1983 fiscal year for 20 aircraft. The report also stated that the planes were to be C-5 transportable and had a planform similar to the space shuttle.25

March 1982, A report in the Wall Street Journal revealed more details of the stealth fighter than had been done previously in the popular media. The report mentioned that the stealth fighter was due to go into production that year, was to be produced in small numbers, and would best be employed in the surprise attack role against heavily defended targets.

July 1986, Further publicity about the stealth fighter resulted when one crashed in California on a night training mission. The drastic security measures taken during the incident attracted media attention. The aircraft crashed at approximately 2 A.M. on a night training flight and started a fierce brushfire near Bakersfield, California. The fire was so severe that it took some 16 hours to extinguish.38 The crash site was proclaimed a national security area, which made overflights within five miles at altitudes less than 8,500 feet illegal. The ground area was also sealed off to the point that fire fighters were not allowed into the immediate area.39 While the Air Force refused to comment on what type of aircraft the pilot had been flying or where the flight originated, there was no doubt in anyone's mind what had crashed. Aviation Week & Space Technology ran detailed articles on the incident, including an analysis of local airways and military operations areas. In a fashion typical of the popular media, Newsweek ran a story that contained several serious inaccuracies. The report indicated that over 72 stealth fighters were in operation and that any debris from the crash could be analyzed and information obtained that "the Kremlin would love to get its hands on." As a result of this, the article claimed, Pentagon officials "wondered if they'd have to keep the entire area cordoned off--forever."43

22 August 1986 the Washington Post, quoting "informed defense sources," wrote that approximately 50 aircraft were operational and combat-ready and listed the cost of the program as $7 billion. (Official figures eventually released specified the cost at $6.56 billion.) I report also specified that the F-19 designation was incorrect and described the aircraft's shape as " `ugly' because of its bulging, nontraditional shape." The article also discussed the operation of stealth technology as well as basing arrangements of the aircraft.46 The following day, the Sacramento Bee ran an article that described facilities at Tonopah, Nevada, where the F-117As were based. Operations at the base were divulged, including the daily transfer of technicians from Nellis Air Force Base. An account from a civilian pilot flying a restored P-51 Mustang who mistakenly landed at the base and was interrogated at length was published, as was a report by a charter pilot who intruded on the restricted airspace and was intercepted by an armed OV-10, which escorted him out of the area.47
 

blackstar

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The article that I remember from Aviation Week (I wish I could at least remember the year) was all programmatics, nothing on the technical aspects, like the facets. But it had a lot of the basics, like when the program was started, the fact that they had built a demonstrator, the crash, etc. It was clear that somebody in the Pentagon had told them the overall program history.

I remember looking that up after I did my fisking of the Blackstar article, because it struck me as an example of Aviation Week doing really good journalism vs. what I think happened with Blackstar. In the case of the stealth fighter, at least in that article, they had a SOURCE, they weren't speculating based upon eyewitness testimony and things like that. It was an example of them being careful and diligent.

Among the many problems with the Blackstar story was that some of it just didn't stand up to scrutiny, like doing some of the testing at an airfield that was not remote and typically used for classified aircraft testing.
 

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"June 1981, an issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology regarding bomber proposals mentioned some interesting facts about the stealth fighter. The report mentioned that the Lockheed demonstrator was currently flying against Soviet equipment, presumably in Nevada. The aircraft were described as physically "rounded." A Pentagon official, whowas not named, described the technology as working "better than we have a right to expect." The article also made reference to a fighter-sized stealth aircraft designed by Northrop that was expected to have its first flight "soon."22 "

That probably stopped a few hearts. ;D By the time the one in California crashed it's existence was pretty much considered a given i.e. not secret.
 

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sferrin said:
"June 1981, an issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology regarding bomber proposals mentioned some interesting facts about the stealth fighter. The report mentioned that the Lockheed demonstrator was currently flying against Soviet equipment, presumably in Nevada. The aircraft were described as physically "rounded." A Pentagon official, whowas not named, described the technology as working "better than we have a right to expect." The article also made reference to a fighter-sized stealth aircraft designed by Northrop that was expected to have its first flight "soon."22 "

That probably stopped a few hearts. ;D By the time the one in California crashed it's existence was pretty much considered a given i.e. not secret.

I don't think that's the article that I remembered reading. And some of that is not accurate. There was no "fighter-size" Northrop aircraft that started flying in the early 1980s.

I believe that the article I read (heck, I should just go and search for it myself with Lexis) referred to two prototypes being built and both being lost, with one later being buried in the desert.
 

quellish

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blackstar said:
I don't think that's the article that I remembered reading. And some of that is not accurate. There was no "fighter-size" Northrop aircraft that started flying in the early 1980s.

I believe that the article I read (heck, I should just go and search for it myself with Lexis) referred to two prototypes being built and both being lost, with one later being buried in the desert.

Most of the reporting on the stealth fighter prior to it's unveiling was inaccurate.
The "fighter sized" Northrop aircraft was most likely TACIT BLUE.
 

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blackstar said:
Among the many problems with the Blackstar story was that some of it just didn't stand up to scrutiny, like doing some of the testing at an airfield that was not remote and typically used for classified aircraft testing.

More importantly, it seemed to require propellant physics more generally understood as "magical."
 

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