Aviation Week is reporting that a military secret space-plane project is possibly being shelved after many years. It is also reporting that the two vehicle system(carrier and orbiter) may have been operational during the 1990’s. The project is referred to as “Blackstar”.
The space-plane would have been lofted to high altitudes by the XB-70 carrier plane. The XB-70 is capable of speeds up to Mach 3. There were some eyewitness reports cited in the Aviation Week article:
“On Oct. 4, 1998, the carrier aircraft was spotted flying over Salt Lake City at about 2:35 p.m. local time. James Petty, the president of JP Rocket Engine Co., saw a small, highly swept-winged vehicle nestled under the belly of the XB-70-like aircraft. The vehicle appeared to be climbing slowly on a west-southwest heading. The sky was clear enough to see both vehicles’ leading edges, which Petty described as a dark gray or black color.” -Aviation Week
What did the orbiter look like? Maybe the patent by Boeing in 1986 – “Horizontal-takeoff transatmospheric launch system” offers some clues.
However the eyewitness reports seem to describe an orbiter of a slightly different design. There are more descriptions in the article.
I’ve always been a fan of the Dynasoar design. It will be interesting to see if more is leaked or released on this project.