http://www.astronautix.com/m/mustard.html As described above, MUSTARD was a BAC project to develop a fully reusable VTO/HL shuttle to transport crew and payload to earth orbit. There were many iterations, ending at about #12, but I don't have a reference for that. I want to understand more about what stage this project got to, as articles and papers are few and far in-between. (Basically did it get to: paper/scale models/prototype/etc., as well as more information on the project in general.)

enter image description here Image source: The Grimsby man who invented the space shuttle

  • $\begingroup$ I rather like that one myself. $\endgroup$ May 19, 2023 at 1:45
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    $\begingroup$ MUSTARD went pretty far, but then it fell behind schedule and could't catchup. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    May 19, 2023 at 6:31
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    $\begingroup$ Looks like only paper. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/BAC_Mustard - no mention of hardware or technology maturation. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    May 19, 2023 at 14:11
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    $\begingroup$ Colonel Mustard only made it to the library with the candlestick... $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    May 19, 2023 at 18:05
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    $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble I actually found this one at my library, but the details were limited, from memory. $\endgroup$ May 20, 2023 at 5:46

1 Answer 1


The BAC MUSTARD was a groundbreaking project that died when the British government lost interest. According to the 2016 book you mention in the comments ("British secret projects. 5, Britain's space shuttle" by Dan Sharp, available by the hour at the Internet Archive), there were 16 MUSTARD (Multi-Unity Space Transport And Recovery Device) iterations. Scheme #14 was being worked on when the program's government funding ran out in 1965, but British Aerospace Corporation (BAC) continued on its own money, completing scheme 15 and finishing with a "final" scheme. The programme's ultimate end came when it was clear the government was never going to provide more money.

There appears to have been only designs on paper and some small wind-tunnel models. The programme was notable for its emphasis on "Economical Space Transportation" and early use of computer simulations as part of the design process.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the tip about the Internet Archive version of the book! Great answer too. $\endgroup$ Jun 5, 2023 at 16:35

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