First of all, the F16 is not the best jet, its the F22 Raptor/Lightning. And lockheed has been on the fall since the cancellation of Venturestar/X-33 program, but its still odd how they barely manage to dent Boeing's sales. Ive been around aviation and aircraft my whole life (I dedicated most of my life to learning to fly and build rockets through books), and lockheed will never be bigger than what McDonald Douglas. Its not going to happen with this market. As long as the 747's are made, it won't happen.
Actually, right now the design is rocket plane/swept wing glider. The common mistake (and you have shown in IMO) is thinking it takes superman to get to space. Well, maybe the Justice League, but not Superman. I don't care if it is feasible or not. To tell my grandkids I was in the race to set the first non-military person in space will be a dream. Its about the actual race..the actual moment..
Right now Eros is being redesigned and renamed in AutoCAD R13 and in my several cardboard models. I know a person out in N.C. that takes several "gliders" to high alt. (20-30miles) and releases them up there. Not many people do it, but I figure strap a rocket on one of those babies and hallejula...
Of course its mroe complex than that. right now im getting the correct angle of ascent and descent, and also calculating weight and fuel needs. The DaVinci project of canada is using a mere 10K lbs of thrust, which can be achieved by a rocket nozzle roughly 10" in diameter. So increasing it steadily provides great effects. Im still bouncing around the simpler Linear Aerospike idea, the only idea that survived Venturestar. It appears to be better in every way, except simplicity. You need higher powered pumps and smaller bell's to carry the fuel onto the actual plane of contact to be ignited..the system is incredibly complex in actual design, yet very simple in method.
The body would consist of aluminum all around, and most likely will be well ribbed. The body however has to be tough, and light, and safe, so thats going to be a challenge. We are positioning all the electronics up front, leaving pretty much everything flammable in the back.
Still, the most challenging part is getting money..yet something about teenagers shooting for space seems intriguing to many people..who knows..im trying it..and proud of it.