Monday, November 18, 2019

Sounding Rockets; Cutting-Edge Science, 15 Minutes at a Time

At 2pm today, NASA live-streamed an hourlong program on sounding rockets - research rockets which carry scientific payloads on short, suborbital trajectories.

Here is the video:

If the player does not work for you on this blog, CLICK HERE to go directly to the video on YouTube.

I like sounding rockets, because of all launch vehicles, they're the ones which most closely resemble what we do in hobby rocketry. They're usually fin stabilized, they usually use solid propellants, and rather than go into orbit, they go up and come back down.

Sounding rockets look much like sport models, and doing a scale model of one is often much simpler than doing an accurate scale model of, say, a Saturn V or Mercury Redstone or Falcon Heavy, or Atlas Something.

In fact, one of the earliest model rocket kits, the Aerobee Hi, was a scale model of a sounding rocket which looked so much like a sport model, that when you see a scale model of it, you'd be forgiven for thinking it was just another model rocket.

The Aerobee Hi sounding rocket

I've been wanting to see more on YouTube about sounding rockets from NASA, but until today, I didn't find a lot that was terribly informative. Now that I have time to sit down and enjoy it, I'm hopeful it will have some interesting stuff in it.


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