The Dog That Didn’t Bark

The Rocket Racing League is going to make a press announcement on Monday, but the release raises some questions:

Rocket Racing League Composites Corp. will announce the acquisition of a leading aircraft manufacturer and a partnership with a leading engine manufacturer…

Granger Whitelaw, CEO, Rocket Racing League
Peter Diamandis, Co-Founder, Rocket Racing League
Adam Smith, Vice President, EAA
Len Fox, Test Pilot, Rocket Racing Composites Corp.
Scott Baker, President, Velocity Aircraft
Neil Milburn, Armadillo Aerospace
John Carmack, Armadillo Aerospace

We have a missing player, and a new player. XCOR was building the initial racers, but they don’t seem to be represented at the event. And this is the first time that I’ve heard Armadillo associated with the project. So apparently, for whatever reason, Armadillo is now providing propulsion for the racers, and they’re apparently acquiring an aircraft manufacturer (Velocity?). I wonder why they have to acquire Velocity. Can’t they just buy modified aircraft? Or maybe they’re being imprecise in language, and it’s also a partner?

This obviously raises many questions, none of which I know the answers to, but it would seem to be bad news (though of course by no means fatal) for XCOR. It certainly won’t affect their work on the Lynx. It’s also good news for Armadillo, and it means a new customer with apparent confidence in their hardware, even after the engine problems at the cup last October.

Perhaps the questions will be answered at the press conference, if asked.

[Update a few minutes later]

Actually, on reconsideration, it’s not even obvious that it is bad news for XCOR (though clearly John Carmack must think that it’s good for Armadillo, or he wouldn’t have done the deal). It could be that, now that they’re trying to focus on developing a true suborbital vehicle, the RRL work was proving to be a distraction for them that they’ve now gotten out from under. But it’s speculation on my part, either way.