In order to study attitudinal variations in the neutral winds and plasma dynamics from the Sriharikota spaceport, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched a sounding rocket named RH-560. Sriharikota spaceport, also called Satish Dhawan space centre (named after ISRO’s former chairman) is the rocket launch centre of ISRO located in Andhra Pradesh.
ISRO took it to twitter and wrote, “Launch of sounding rocket (RH-560) to study attitudinal variations in the neutral winds and plasma dynamics carried out today (Friday) at SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota.”
Sometimes called a research rocket, sounding rockets are one or two stage instrument-carrying rockets used for exploring the upper atmospheric regions and performing research during sub-orbital flights. They are also affordable means to test or prove the capability of prototypes of new components or subsystems that are designed to be used in launch vehicles and satellites.
So far, the Bengaluru-based space agency has developed a series of sounding rockets called the Rohini series that includes the newly launched RH-560. Other important-sounding rockets under this series are RH-200 and RH-300. According to ISRO, the number in the name represents the diameter of the rocket in mm.
While ISRO didn’t have the infrastructure nor the expertise to launch big rockets when it was set up on August 15, 1969, today, it boasts of an array of rockets in its armoury. In fact, the launch of the first sounding rocket by ISRO from Thumba near Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on November 21, 1963, marked the beginning of the Indian Space Programme. Since then, ISRO has been launching indigenously made sounding rockets. Other rockets under in its arsenal are GSLV rocket and PSLB.
The GSLV rocket launches big and bulky satellites into the geo orbit and was also used to launch the well-known Chandrayaan-2. On the other hand, PSLV can lift a slew of satellites in one attempt.