Paynou, Prossett and Salem
The prolific trio of Paynou, Prossett and Salem received high accolades for their ground-breaking Cobra Mk I: a ship designed for the independent trader and, when launched in 2855, was relatively fast.
The drive technology had already attracted the interest of the Galactic Navy which placed development contracts for both a larger and smaller variant with military applications. The speed requirements for the smaller interceptor-class suggested a lightweight but high-risk hull design.
Faulcon Manspace recognized a major threat to their Iguana program. In particular a lucrative solicit to bid from GalCop to replace its aging Viper fleets was awarded to the maturing Paynou, Prossett and Salem Cobra Mk II design. However the mysterious deaths of Paynou and Salem - and the resulting major technical difficulties with the hull integrity of the Cobra Mk II - resulted in financial ruin.
Design work for the larger variant, the Mk. III, was essentially complete and a prototype contract was awarded (without competition) by the Navy to Cowell & MgRath.
Prossett went on to found Prossett Drive systems, and paid significant attention to his personal security.