Saturday, June 28, 2014

Retro Saturday: Establishing a Rocket Research Range

Click the arrow to watch the film. Video source: wdtvlive42 YouTube channel.

So you want your own launch pad.

This week's Retro Saturday film tells you how to do it.

Establishing a Rocket Research Range is an undated 1960s-era NASA documentary about how to build a small launch facility for sounding rockets.

What is a sounding rocket? According to NASA:

Sounding rockets take their name from the nautical term “to sound,” which means to take measurements. Since 1959, NASA-sponsored space and earth science research has used sounding rockets to test instruments used on satellites and spacecraft and to provide information about the Sun, stars, galaxies and Earth's atmosphere and radiation.

A NASA image depicting the flight profile of a sounding rocket in its parabolic trajectory.

NASA has a Sounding Rockets Program Office at their Wallops Flight Facility at Wallops Island, Virginia. Wallops was established in 1945 as a research center for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. In 1958, the NACA was merged with other federal agencies and research centers to create the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Today's Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport is a facility leased by the Commonwealth of Virginia from Wallops for launching commercial vehicles and payloads, such as the Orbital Sciences Cygnus atop the Antares rocket that delivers cargo to the International Space Station.

This film focuses on Wallops' early NASA days as a sounding rocket launch facility.

No comments:

Post a Comment