This page contains an index for all the information I have on the Nova series of markers, developed by the companies AirStar, Section8 PB, and DarkStar. Nova information can be difficult to find, so these pages were created to use as reference for anyone.
Novas are one of my favorite classic markers due to their extremely unique design and operation. They use a bolt-less firing assembly that relies on a moving barrel to seal the marker's breech. The ball fires from a closed bolt position using a small poppet-based dump valve which also controls the barrel movement.
There were several versions of the Nova over the years, beginning with the Nova 700 (in the disassembly pictures), SuperNova (pictured above), and a later electronic version called the SuperNova ET. Later, after the marker was discontinued, a Nova clone called the Darkstar was released by a company called Section8 paintball which seems to have disappeared as soon as they appeared.
Timeline: (this info came from somebody called Tiny and was re-posted on Pete's Nova webpage; I expanded upon it).
1998.January - PneuSystems Inc creates a subsidiary company called AirStar.
1998.July - The Nova 700 was revealed at the Zap Amateur Open '98.
1999.March - First of two Nova recalls relating to machining issues with regulator internals. The markers use a built-in overpressure bleed valve, but if the bleed valve is not operating properly then the marker could become unsafe if combined with a regulator pressure spike.
2000.May - Second of two Nova recalls. I'm unsure of the details on this recall.
2000.July.31 - PneuSystems Inc dissolves the AirStar subsidiary.
2000.September.13 - PneuSystems makes the announcement about AirStar dissolution.
2000.December.1 - The company PaintGuns International (PGI) was formed, along with NeoPaintball out of Texas. PGI planned to release modern markers of similar design to Novas.
2001.February.1 - The company Section8 Paintball Gear was created (affiliated with Splat Maxx). Section8 wants to sell Novas using a combination of old stock and new parts made for PGI.
2001.March - NeoPaintball begins selling the electronic "Darkstar" Nova variation, and starts production of the Mayhem.
2001.April - Mayhem released (under PGI).
2001.June - Section8 Paintball disappears. Darkstars now become rare, although PGI parts were still available.
Later (2002), The PGI Mayhem was retailed by distributors such as NPS, but the marker lost value when the company disappeared. Mayhems were then clearanced to various retailers and could be found available at trade shows and tournaments for around $200 each (if I recall correctly).
The last variation of this marker lineage was the Assault-80 sold by War Machine Inc in 2003. Originally, Assault-80 markers used an articulating barrel similar to Novas or Darkstars, but the marker was redesigned at least twice. War Machine went out of business in 2005.