from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Doubly conical; resembling two cones placed base to base.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Or, if America must go it alone, surely a biconic shroud/re-entry shell cargo capsule is not beyond the capabilities of NASA.
The only reason to go to a biconic RV shape is to increase the L/D for good cross range (often a miltary requirement), which is not needed here.
Well with Mars you might want a biconic or lifting body vehicle so you can spend more time in the thin upper atmosphere.
Once reliable LEO access is secured, then NASA can look at something longer-term like a SSTO lifting body, a biconic CEV or a reusable LFR core for the Ares-I.