Cirtain, Jonathan Marshall Space Flight Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Huntsville, Alabama.
Last reviewed:January 2020
- Mission profile
- Solar astronomy
- Rocket exploration of geospace
- Other celestial sources
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The discipline that makes use of sounding rockets (Fig. 1) that fly near-vertical paths carrying scientific instruments to altitudes ranging from 40 to more than 1500 km (25–900 mi). Altitudes up to 48 km (30 mi) can be reached by balloons, so sounding rockets are typically used for higher altitudes in order to measure sources that do not penetrate the Earth's atmosphere with telescopes, or particles and fields in space with in situ observations. Sounding rockets do not achieve escape velocity; after completion of the launch phase, the payload follows a ballistic trajectory that permits 5–15 min of data taking before reentry. See also: Rocket
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