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31 votes
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Is 678 km the new altitude record for a rocket shot "straight up" (vertical launch)?

New Horizons went into Earth parking orbit first, so it doesn't count. For a suborbital direct ascent trajectory, some early lunar probes (USSR's Luna-1 for example) would hold this record. Otherwise, ...
Jonathan McDowell's user avatar
16 votes

Is 678 km the new altitude record for a rocket shot "straight up" (vertical launch)?

Not sure if this counts, but New Horizons was launched directly into an escape trajectory and did not enter orbit. It made it to Pluto and beyond. From Wikipedia: New Horizons was launched from ...
Steve's user avatar
  • 1,174
16 votes

Using large orbital launchers as sounding rockets. What are the opportunities and challenges?

Suborbital sounding rockets cost about 1/100 as much as an orbital launcher. Black Brant XII, one of the most advanced sounding rockets in use, can take 100-400kg payload into space for \$600K. For ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
15 votes
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Did any sounding rocket ever reach space?

Sure, plenty of them, all the time. Most sounding rockets actually do reach space, in fact. For a complete list, I suggest you look at Johnathan's Space Report, filtering out the orbital launches from ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
10 votes

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

The SS-520-5 launcher is not intended to be an operational vehicle. ... the SS-520-5 was also an experiment to construct a minimum system that can be established with a micro-...
Organic Marble's user avatar
8 votes
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Launching sounding rockets from the magnetic equator (ISRO's Thumba)

It turns out the magnetic equator is quite important to for research on geophysics and the interaction of the Earth's field with the atmosphere and solar wind. This location seems ideal both for ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
7 votes
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Why is this rocket transparent, and why is there a nozzle in the nose, pointing up?

That is a model of a Vanguard nosecone / third stage with an "IGY magnetometer satellite" at the top. The sphere is the "Sub-Satellite", a precursor of Project Echo. Sad ending: It blew up in the ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
6 votes

First sounding rocket to reach the mesosphere?

This was almost certainly the German V-2 rocket. According to Wikipedia, on the 3rd of October 1942, a V-2 reached an altitude of between 85 to 90 kilometers. The second, and the first true "sounding ...
Jerard Puckett's user avatar
6 votes

What distinguishes a sounding rocket from a suborbital flight?

A sounding rocket is, technically, a rocket sent up for the purpose of taking measurements, or collecting data. The term 'sounding' is a US naval term for data measurement, and the term 'sounding ...
Absalom Davidson's user avatar
6 votes
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Will JAXA try again to launch TRICOM-1 with the "world's smallest orbital rocket" SS-520-4 again?

Yes! Update: Thanks to @Sean's answer, I've made an update here as well. From Wikipedia's S-Series_(rocket_family); SS-520-5 The second attempt at becoming the smallest orbital launching rocket was ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
6 votes
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Project High Water and the lightning-like radio disturbances it caused

There's a NASA report on the two launches. It has some pictures, but the on-web copy of them has poor scan quality: But there's a lot of interesting discussion of what's happening. There's ...
Bob Jacobsen's user avatar
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6 votes
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Help me understand what Farside, a ten "stage" rockoon looked like? How was it configured?

Sadly, it didn't have 10 stages, only 4. 10 motors though. Project Farside was an attempt to reach extreme altitudes with the rockoon concept. Using a four-stage solid-propellant rocket... (...
Organic Marble's user avatar
5 votes
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Highest reaching sounding rocket

I noticed in the most recent NASA sounding rocket annual report that the Oriole IV has slightly better performance than the Black Brant XII. However, based on astronautix I don't think any mission has ...
Roy Smart's user avatar
  • 166
5 votes
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Did any rockets have 5- or 7-fold symmetry?

The rocket as a whole didn't have that kind of radial symmetry, but the second stage of the Jupiter-C/Juno launcher consisted of a cluster of 11 solid rocket motors. The third stage of the Jupiter-C ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
5 votes

Did any rockets have 5- or 7-fold symmetry?

Astra Space is trying to launch a rocket. (Soon!) It has apparent pentagonal symmetry, due to the interesting form of its payload fairing (seems I count ten sides) and the five-engine cluster it uses ...
Anton Hengst's user avatar
  • 10.7k
5 votes

MT-135 Sounding Rocket info / design

According to the JAXA page about the rocket, it's a solid-fuel motor: The propellant, a pre-formed grain, polyurethane composite with a low burning rate... By polyurethane composite I assume they ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
4 votes
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Why a Terrier Malemute?

How were names like Terrier, Malemute, Nike, Oriole selected [...] for sounding rockets? Terrier, et al. It appears many of the early solid rocket motors ...
quasinormalized's user avatar
4 votes
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Did the British Skylark ever launch from the UK?

It appears that two Skylarks were launched from the UK: Aberporth Rocket Range is located near Aberystwyth, on the south coast of Wales. Originally, it was intended to be used for the testing of ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
4 votes
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How common are "parallel stages" in a launch vehicle?

A fairly famous such vehicle was the Jupiter C, the USA's first successful orbital launch vehicle. You can see from this diagram how the third stage nested inside the second stage and the fourth ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
4 votes
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What is an "M motor"? (used in a full-scale model of a Corporal missile)

In the model rocket engine classification system, an "M" engine is one that has a total impulse of between 5120 and 10240 Newton-seconds. The scale is open-ended, with each additional letter ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 15.3k
4 votes
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What is an "Aceteria improved Ryan suborbital sounding rocket"?

The announcer's diction is quite poor; what's being transcribed as an aceteria improved ryan suborbital sounding rocket Is almost certainly ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
4 votes

Chamber Pressure and Burn Rate equations

How to get a and n The burn rate coefficient and exponent are propellant specific. There are catalogues of different solid propellant mixtures on Richard Nakka's Website (which I gather you're ...
A McKelvy's user avatar
  • 2,482
3 votes
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Which sounding rockets are the biggest?

Depending how you define sounding rocket the title of heaviest/largest probably belongs to a V2 derivative such as those flown during the Bumper program with masses around the 12-13 tonnes though ...
GremlinWranger's user avatar
3 votes
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How do small, spin stabilized launchers follow a rhumb line?

In theory, a rocket could "follow a rhumb line" starting with any kind of directional information. But there seem to be two use cases: The very-early Pegasus rockets used a directional gyro derived ...
Bob Jacobsen's user avatar
  • 12.7k
3 votes
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How does launching suborbital payloads on New Shepard compare to sounding rockets?

The flight profile of a sounding rocket and the New Shepard are very different. For one, sounding rockets often fly higher than NS with some reaching altitudes of up to 1500 km. Additionally, sounding ...
Dragongeek's user avatar
  • 18.8k
3 votes

Could a sounding rocket or a space gun payload at apogee be put into orbit with a rocket impulse from there?

The orbital velocity for Low Earth Orbit is around 7.8 km/s. Accelerating to that speed requires that the payload of your sounding rocket or space gun be a rocket that itself has a Delta-v budget of (...
Kamil Drakari's user avatar
3 votes
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Where is Farside's 4th stage?

Pure speculation (just from looking at the photo): it's within the third stage. While the cylinders for the first stage are either touching or nearly touching, the cylinders on the third stage are ...
BowlOfRed's user avatar
  • 6,882
3 votes

What are some good softwares to simulate rocket trajectories ?

The principal software that I found (and free) is the "Comprehensive General-Purpose Simulation of Attitude and Trajectory Dynamics and Control of Multiple Spacecraft Composed of Multiple Rigid or ...
Alberto A. A.'s user avatar
3 votes

What are the most important aspects to look into when building an experimental sounding rocket?

This is getting close-votes for being opinion-based, but I guess most people here will agree about two primary things; both "number one" because neglecting either is the end of the project. Law, and ...
SF.'s user avatar
  • 55k
3 votes

Largest number of rockets launched into space from a given launch site in a 24 hour period?

I'm working my way through the past missions listed by the NASA Sounding Rockets Program Office, which has a few multiple launches, mostly doubles. Standouts include: A launch of 5 sounding rockets ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar

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