Waverider Test Programme

Currently, in the UK, a number of different Waverider geometries are being tested. These represent efforts to evolve designs for operational Waverider vehicles (as distinct from "pure" geometries derived from strict adherence to hypersonic shockwave theory). These are the Mark 4, 7, 8, 10B, 11 and 12 designs.

The Mark 4 and Mark 7 Liddell-Newlands designs derive from work originally done during the 1980`s under the aegis of the Waverider Aerodynamics Study programme (WASP), run by ASTRA (Association in Scotland To Research into Astronautics). ASTRA`s work in the 1970's and early 1980's, was to pave the way for STAAR Research. In fact, the father of waveriders, Professor Terence Nonweiler, was a member of ASTRA during the 1970`s. It was Professor Nonweiler`s designs which led to the Mark 1, 2 and 3 waveriders tested by ASTRA.

The Mark 8 and Mark 12 Waveriders are STAAR Research designs, developed by John Bonsor and Bobby Wark. A number of prototypes of various sizes have been flight tested comprehensively. The design has been evolving consistently over the past several years.

The Mark 10B is a design developed by Rick Newlands, an aeronautical engineer, and head of Waverider development in AspireSpace. The Mark 10B is based on "viscous optimised" waverider geometries which emerged from computational fluid dynamics work done at the University of Maryland, and elsewhere in the U.S.A., in the late 1980`s, as part of the "new hypersonics". In late 1993, AspireSpace started developing the Rick Newlands designed, Mark 11 Waverider, which is based on the Mark 10B, but with a greater aerobody volume.

The Mark-13 design represents another waverider design from John Bonsor of STAAR Research. This design represents another departure from the lineage of the Mark-7 family. A subscale demonstrator of the Mark-13 design was exhibited at the 1997 UKRA Launch Event.

In early 1995, Rick Newlands of AspireSpace, and Richard Osborne, formerly of AspireSpace, and now in MARS, began development of the Mark 14 Waverider. This was designed from the outset as a manned, unpowered orbital re-entry vehicle design. Designs were completed, and the construction and flight testing of subscale demonstrators took place in the summer of 1995. Later in the summer of 1995, work was undertaken by Richard Osborne on a follow-on Mark-15 design. Work on this is ongoing.

Copyright STAAR Research, 1995-1999