Encyclopedia Astronautica
Multi-Role Recovery Capsule



mrcaw87.jpg
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

Characteristics

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...

Bibliography
  • 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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