Indian Space Research Organization, ISRO has launched an RH-560 Sounding Rocket on 12 March 2021 to study Attitudinal Variation in Neutral Winds and Plasma Dynamics. This launch was performed from the Satish Dhawan Space Center (SDSC), Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh. ISRO shared the launched images on Twitter.
About Sounding Rockets
Sounding Rockets are also called Rocketsonde or Research Rocket. It is designed in a way that it took various measurements and perform scientific experiments during its sub-orbital flight. These are one or two-stage solid propellant (combination of fuel and oxidizer that is burned to provide propulsion) rockets used for research or taking the knowledge of the upper atmospheric regions and for also space research.
Sounding Rocket designing took 6 months from proposal acceptance to data analysis. Sounding Rockets are light in weight approx. under .5-ton payload and it is a low-cost maintenance rocket.
Sounding Rockets can stay in the atmosphere between 40km and 160km. The reason is sounding rockets are launch in between 40km to 160km because many countries are still using weather balloons to know about the weather details in the atmosphere. Weather balloons are not allowed to go above 40 km from the ground, in certain cases, if it is crossed 40km there is a high possibility that it will burst and below 160km sounding rockets are launch because Satellites generally launch above 160km that’s why this range is defined for Sounding Rockets.
Sounding rockets give the detailed study about the atmosphere region which is helpful for future launching Satellites i.e. going to be successful or not that’s why it is called Research Rocket.
These rockets work as an easily affordable platform to research or test prototypes of new components intended for service in launch vehicles and satellites.
Near sounding rocket launch station, tracking RADAR is installed which receive data from rockets and convert in Real-time data and continue established connection with them.
Presently ISRO uses 3 Sounding Rockets called Rohini Series which are RH-200, RH-300, and RH-560 which are between 8-100kg payload and able to go 80 to 475km height. RH-200 Launchpad is situated in Thumba Balasore, RH-300 and RH-560 Launchpad situated in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
Number presenting 200, 300, and 560 is the diameter of the Rockets in mm.
NASA and Russian Space Agency are using sounding rockets in a large number. Presently NASA is using 15 Sounding Rockets.
History of Sounding Rockets
India’s first Sounding Rocket RH-75 was launched from Thumba near Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala on 21st Nov 1963 that was marked the beginning of the Indian Space Programme.
Thumba Space Center
The Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) is an Indian Spaceport situated in Thumba near Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala established on 21st Nov 1963. This spaceport is near to the southern tip of mainland India, very near to earth’s magnetic equator, that’s why the first sounding rocket launched from this place.
Initially, in 1963, Russian (M-100) and French (Centaure) were imported Sounding Rockets with a payload of 70kg and 30kg respectively. After the first successful launch of RH-75, the other RH-100 and RH-125 sounding rockets are launched. These successful sound rocket programs made ISRO a successful rocket launching platform.
From these successful launches of the Rohini Series Sounding Rockets, ISRO has taken part in various national and international platforms and completed various scientific missions.