Encyclopedia Astronautica
Multi-Role Recovery Capsule

Multi-Role RC
Multi-Role Recovery Capsule - BAe,1987.
Credit: NASA via Marcus Lindroos
British manned spacecraft. Study 1987. Britain was the only European Space Agency member opposed to ESA's ambitious man-in-space plan, and the British conservative government refused to approve the November 1987 plan.

However, the British aerospace industry did propose some interesting alternatives, such as the $2-billion 'Multi-Role Recovery Capsule'.

British Aerospace Ltd. (BAe) regarded the French Hermes mini-Shuttle as too expensive and complicated. Instead, they felt a simple crew capsule would make more sense as an 8-man 'lifeboat' for Space Station Freedom (NASA issued a competitive request for proposals in late 1987). MRC was to be launched on the existing Ariane-40 rocket and the capsule could be flown manned or unmanned, for sensitive microgravity experiments in orbit.

Article by Marcus Lindroos


Unit Cost $: 183.000 million. Crew Size: 4. RCS total impulse: 2,142 kgf-sec. Spacecraft delta v: 157 m/s (515 ft/sec). Electric System: 84.00 kWh. Electric System: 0.70 average kW.

AKA: Manned Reusable Capsule; MRC.
Gross mass: 7,000 kg (15,400 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 6,300 kg (13,800 lb).
Payload: 500 kg (1,100 lb).
Height: 4.28 m (14.04 ft).
Thrust: 1.61 kN (361 lbf).
Specific impulse: 312 s.

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • MRC DM British manned spacecraft module. Study 1987. Reusable re-entry capsule. More...
  • MRC SM British manned spacecraft module. Study 1987. Expendable equipment section. More...

See also
Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Ariane French orbital launch vehicle. First successful European commercial launch vehicle, developed from L3S Europa launch vehicle replacement design. Development of the Ariane 1 was authorised in July 1973, took eight years, and cost 2 billion 1986 Euros. More...
  • Ariane 4 French orbital launch vehicle. The ultimate Ariane development. Compared with the Ariane 2/3, the Ariane 4 featured stretched first (61%) and third stages, a strengthened structure, new propulsion bay layouts, new avionics, and the Spelda dual-payload carrier. The basic 40 version used no strap-on motors, while the Ariane 42L, 44L, 42P, 44P, and 44LP versions used varous combinations of solid and liquid propellant strap-on motors). Development was authorised in January 1982, with the objective of increasing payload by 90%. Total development cost 476 million 1986 ECU's. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
Associated Propellants
  • N2O4/MMH Nitrogen tetroxide became the storable liquid propellant of choice from the late 1950's. Monomethylhydrazine (CH3NHNH2) is a storable liquid fuel that found favour in the United States for use in orbital spacecraft engines. Its advantages in comparison to UDMH are higher density and slightly higher performance. More...

  • Hempsell, C M and Hannigan, R J, "Multi-Role Capsule System Description", Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, 1989, Volume 42, page 67.

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