The Mark 7 Waverider
The Mark 7 waverider was (and still is) the most successful waverider test vehicle flown by STAAR Research. Originally conceived during the briefly resurrected ASTRA waverider program. The Mark 7 waverider was designed by Stewart Liddell and Rick Newlands, and was an attempt to design a real vehicle shape as might be used to deliver crew or payloads from Low Earth orbit. Extended hypersonic cruise and good low-speed handling capabilities were designed-in to allow landing on any part of the globe from any orbital inclination. Provision for external-burning airbreathing propulsion was incorporated.
Following the formation of STAAR Research, the mark 7 waverider became the workhorse of their waverider test program, and vehicles number 1, 2 and 3 have now made over 100 rocket powered test flights.
The low speed handling and landing characteristics have been explored in considerable detail, with these remotely piloted waverider vehicles, and are surprisingly good, especially as no additional stability-augmenting flight control systems are needed.
The great success of the Mark 7 waverider naturally led on to the Mark 8 waverider, a much more sophisticated design, utilising more modern developments.
Copyright STAAR Research, 1995-1999