Posted by on September 27th, 2021


Have you ever heard the name Sounding Rocket? As its name indicates ‘Sound’ means Measure. Sounding rockets are one or two-stage solid propellant medium (around two to three meters in height) scaled rockets mainly used to find the upper atmospheric weather conditions like pressure, temperature, and humidity, and this data is primarily used to analyze the changes in atmospheric conditions on the surface of the Earth and for the space research. So it is also known as ‘Research Rocket’. This rocket is specially designed for carrying the instruments to perform scientific experiments and certain measurements during its sub-orbital flight. It can also be named a low altitude rocket as it travels to a shorter altitude compared to other space rockets. It travels up to a height of 15 to 110 km from the surface of the Earth. The payload capacity is in the range of 10 to 100 kg.

A sounding rocket has two parts those are rocket motor at the base and the payload at the top. These rockets work with the solid fuel propellant with the combination of ammonium perchlorate (act as oxidizer) and Hydroxyl-Terminated Poly-Butadiene (act as a binder), and aluminum powder (acts as fuel).

Half a century ago, scientists decided to conduct a mission to explore at Earth’s orbit, they developed small sounding rocket and a satellite and launched to study about the Earth’s lower orbit atmosphere and ionosphere. Eventually, first sun and star observation was possible using a sounding rocket. The launch of the first satellite using a sounding rocket was conducted on 4 October 1957, the Sputnik. The usage of the sounding rocket by researchers flourished and led to continuous usage to date. In the 1960s, sounding rocket helped scientist extend their space industry, it became the mainstream for space research programmers. This reduced the complexity in building satellites to lower Earth orbit for observation.

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Dhanush D B

Aerospace Engineer at

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Joined: May 20th, 2021
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