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The answer to If there "won't be" rockets to launch individual cubesats, then why did JAXA build exactly that? (SS-520-xx) begins

The SS-520-5 launcher is not intended to be an operational vehicle.

To my knowledge it has once successfully launched a cubesat, and that was the end of the project (thought I could be wrong).

There's a discussion under What is the smallest object our current technology is capable of launching into space? where I suggest the SS-520-5 could be considered as a sounding rocket that (barely) managed to put a few kg payload into orbit and suggested that vice grips used once as a hammer don't cease to be vice grips.

But there's some pushback that I'm wrong and the SS-520-5 should not be considered as a sounding rocket.

Question: Is the SS-520-5 both a floor wax and a desert topping?1 Can it be considered both a sounding rocket and an orbital vehicle?

The high thrust/weight ratio at each stage and extremely high accelerations suggest to me that you could significantly increase the payload mass and put that payload on a sounding rocket trajectory to do sounding rocket research. It certainly seems one could think of it as a sounding rocket with the potential to reach orbit; is that wrong of me?

Addressing the "floor wax and a desert topping" aspect:


1See New Shimmer below (still can't find a video)

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    $\begingroup$ I'm struggling with how this isn't opinion based. "Ask not the Elves for counsel, for they will say both yes and no." $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 19, 2021 at 1:09
  • $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble your answer to the above-linked "CZ-5 plus YZ-2 put SJ-17 in GEO" question says something similar. Let's give it a day or two to see how others respond to "Can it be considered both...?" I know at least one person has something definitive to say about it, as an answer post it will reach a wider audience, and since I was called "dishonest" there I think it's good to put this under a magnifying glass. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Dec 19, 2021 at 1:31
  • $\begingroup$ One person can consider it to be a sounding rocket, another can consider it not to be. I don't consider such things to be a fit topic for Stack Exchange. Perhaps you consider it to be? (See what I did there?) $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 19, 2021 at 2:02
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    $\begingroup$ Reminder: This site is frequented by many people with vastly different cultural backgrounds, many of whom will not understand a reference to a particular comedy sketch aired in 1976. Without that understanding, the title question is nonsensical and baffling. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 19, 2021 at 16:40
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    $\begingroup$ The best sounding rocket ever was, of course, the Saturn I. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 19, 2021 at 16:45

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