In the late 1950’s British aeronautical engineer Terrence Nonweiler conceived the waverider concept as one method of returning a winged craft from space.
Terry was ahead of his time: the materials required to fashion the sharp wing edges his concept needed are only now being developed. ESA hopes to fly a Mach 8 waverider a decade from now.
Terry became a professor at Glasgow University, where he enthused a group of talented amateurs about waveriders: a design team within the Scottish ASTRA association that some years later (in the 1980’s) embarked on a programme of low-speed free-flying and radio-controlled research models (Marks 1 to 7).
The ASTRA team split-up in rather ignominious fashion, but two of its members: John Bonsor now of STAAR Research, and Rick Newlands now of Aspirespace, continue the work, and carry the waverider flame for Britain.
Find out more about waveriders in the child pages of this page (peruse the menu bar above).
Stuart Liddell hand-launches a Mark 7 in front of an astonished visitor from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory USA. (1989, a young Rick Newlands is to Stuart’s right).