# How can a sounding rocket accurately take the temperature of the atmosphere while flying through it at high speed?

A sounding rocket is a rocket that ascends into the high atmosphere in order to take all sorts of measurements so we can learn more about the upper atmosphere. They don't go into orbit, so they can be smaller than what we normally think of space rockets. However, they can still go above 100km fairly easily, and they still go very fast.

What I want to know is, how can it accurately measure the ambient temperature at whatever altitude it's at? The rocket will be flying very fast, incurring a lot of heat from air friction.

• Note that the heat is not due to friction, but from compression of the air in front. Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 7:55
• @JDługosz I'm pretty sure it's from both. Solid surfaces suffer from skin friction across moving air, which produces heat just like any other friction. Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 22:52
• @DrZ214 No, it's not. The influence of friction is negligible. Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 16:29

In meteorological rockets, the temperature sensor is not measured as the rocket ascends but a payload containing the sensor is ejected from a high altitude and as it parachutes down measurements are beamed back.

$$Ram~Rise=SAT\times0.2\times{M}^2$$