27 August 1997
News - Vehicles (None)
Bantam contracts held up
Protest delays issuing of Bantam contract to Pioneer
by Peter Wainwright
Pioneer Rocketplane's successful Bantam bid has been delayed, along with the other three (non-reusable) winners, by a protest from one of the losing bidders, Microcosm, who develop the Scorpius expendable launcher. As a result the programme will be frozen for upto three months whist the US Congress General Accounting office investigates the complaint.

The Bantam programme is designed to reduce the cost of launch for small-scale packages into LEO, and is awarding four contracts worth a total of $8 million extending for six months. Pioneer Rocketplane is the only bidder to offer a reusable vehicle as their design for 'Cycle 1' which involves the development of a business plan and preliminary design. Cycle 2 will see two of the contenders selected later next year to produce demonstators to fly in 1999.

If Pioneer can get as far as flying a demonstator it will be interesting to compare their solution with the considerably more expensive X-33, also due to fly in 1999 - SFJ
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Peter Wainwright 27 August 1997
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