Magic Dragon: The UK’s first commercially built manned capsule demonstrator

by | Apr 9, 2008 | Seradata News | 0 comments

Magic Dragon is the UK’s first commercially built manned capsule demonstrator, with its own life support system and communications equipment and it was fabricated in 2005 for Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) before the company got involved in NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services programme

This blog entry at Rocketeer.co.uk brought it to my attention. But I now have more detail from the UK company that built Magic Dragon

The UK is not known for its orbital manned spaceflight which is why I got on the phone quick to Andy Elson who built the capsule for SpaceX and who has a history of fabricating capsules for high altitude balloon flightsElson told me today that the Magic Dragon demonstrator he built did not have a reentry shield, as that was conceived as something that would be attached to one end of the final design.

Designed for tourism Elson said SpaceX insisted on square windows for the tourists and that the capsule was designed to be launched by a SpaceX Falcon 5. SpaceX has since moved on to its more powerfull Falcon 9 rocket and its updated capsule design, Dragon

Elson got the contract in 2003 and designed the capsule from scratch. It uses lithium hydroxide scrubbers for carbon dioxide and would provide additional oxygen. The internal atmosphere is 1bar with 20% oxygen, 80% nitrogen and the pressure vessel has the capability to slightly alter its internal pressure and those oxygen and nitrogen ratios

“We’ve built capsules for high altitude. Monitoring is all the same, down or up,” says Elson

The photograph on Elson’s website shows Magic Dragon before it was shipped to SpaceX’s El Segundo facility in 2005

The UK company Starchaser drop tested its own Nova 2 rocket capsule in July 2003 and has since gone on to develop the prototype of its Thunderstar capsule. For me the key difference between the two is that Elson was paid to build the demonstrator capsule and therefore its a commercial product, rather than an internally funded engineering unit

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

Launch order for VNREDSat-1A goes to Arianespace’s Vega rocket

On 4 January, Arianespace and Astrium signed the launch contract for the VNREDSat-1A Earth observation satellite, on behalf of the Read more

Ariane 5 successfully launches JCSAT 13 and Vinasat 2

An Ariane 5 ECA launch vehicle successfully launched the Japansese commercial communications satellite JCSAT-13 along with the Vietnamese communications satellite Read more

UK Space Agency gets its own website

The new UK Space Agency now has its own website and the old British National Space Centre (BNSC) URL re-directs Read more

News bites return! 30 March 2010

Is it just this blog or is there just not much going on out there at the moment? Maybe it Read more

On day of its launch the future of UK space centre is in doubt

After much fanfare today at the launch of the UK Space Agency's name and an announcement of £40 million going Read more

Will UK space agency announcement see £20 million for industry?

Hyperbola is guessing that the reformed British National Space Centre that is getting no more money and has the pleasure Read more

…meanwhile over in merry old England a new space age dawns

To be published on 10 February Hyperbola hears it could contain a goal of creating 100,000 jobs by 2020. A Read more

UK gets an executive space agency but what is that?

So no human spaceflight initiatives or re-engagement with launchers or even greater investment in robotic programmes is about to happen Read more

Categories

Archives

Tags

nasaspacexecoreviewsissesaArianespacevideochina25virgin galacticULAfalcon 9RoscosmosDGAaviation weekaresIGTsoyuzawardsBeidouspacespacewalkSatellite broadcastingmoonInternational Space StationevarussiaCargo Return VehicleBlue OriginmarsblogresearchboeingimpactAirbus DSspaceshiptwomarshyperboladelayjaxademocratISROobamaorionhypertextrocketgoogle lunar prizelunarVegalaunchbarack obamaconstellationStarlinktourismfiguresEutelsatnorthRocket LabSESspaceflightFalcon 9v1.2FT Block 5node 2fundedOneWebRaymond Lygorome2009Express MD-2thales alenia spacess2dassault aviationAtlas VaviationLucy2008wk2radioIntelsatukElon MuskLockheed Martinexplorationtestmissiledocking portsstlinternetsuborbitalsts-122China Manned Space Engineering2010newspapercotsgalileoAriane 5flightmissile defensespaceportspace tourismExpress AMU 1Ariane 5 ECAaltairbuildspace stationProton MSLSshuttleIntelsat 23scaled compositesVirgin OrbitCosmosinternational astronautical congressEuropean Space AgencyrulesElectronbudgetnew yorkhanleyLauncherOneshenzhouspace shuttleatvVietnamboldenAriane 6congressMojaveGuiana Space CenterOrbital ATKNorthrop GrummaniackscSpace Systems/LoralUK Space AgencylawscnesUS Air ForceInmarsatILSprotonnew shepardsoyuz 2-1aTalulah RileyLong March 4CApollousadarpaSkyloneuAstriumastronautlanderLong March 4BpicturebasedragoneventSSLfiveinterviewLong March 2CAprilWednesdaySNC50thfalconlunar landerSea Launchlink7successorcustomeratlantisSpace InsuranceLong March 2D/2conferencenational space symposiumorbiterTelesat15