200th Consecutive Launch of RH200

ISRO successfully made the 200th consecutive launch of the multipurpose sounding rocket RH200 from Thiruvananthapuram’s Thumba coast.

What is RH200?

  • RH200, which is capable of climbing to a height of 70 km, is a two-stage multipurpose sounding rocket capable of carrying scientific payloads into space.
  • The 200 in the name denotes the diameter of the rocket in millimetre.
  • This 3.5-meter tall rocket belongs to the Rohini rocket family. It is used by ISRO for atmospheric studies.
  • The first and second stages of this rocket are powered by solid motors.
  • This rocket is currently playing a major role in providing a flexible platform for experiments and testing of new technologies.
  • Initially, it used polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-based propellant. The first RH200 to use the new propellant based on hydroxyl-terminated Polybutadiene (HTPB) was launched successfully from the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) in 2020.

What is a sounding rocket?

A sounding rocket, which is sometimes known as a research rocket or suborbital rocket, is an instrument-carrying rocket that is capable of taking measurements and performing scientific experiments during its sub-orbital flight. It is used to launch instruments from 48 to 145 km altitude from the Earth’s surface.

About India’s sounding rockets

The first sounding rocket to be launched in India was American Nike-Apache. This historic launch happened on November 21, 1963. Following this, two-stage rockets imported from Russia (M-100) and France (Centaure) were launched.

Rohini RH-75 – the first indigenously developed sounding rocket – was launched by ISRO in 1967. Since then, these rockets have been launched from both the TERLS and the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. In 1975, all of ISRO’s sounding rocket activities came under the purview of the Rohini Sounding Rocket (RSR) Programme.

Currently, the RH-200, RH-300-Mk-II and RH-560-Mk-III are operational.  They can carry payloads ranging from 8 to 100 kg and an apogee range of 80 to 475 km.

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