China on 27 April 2016 successfully launched the Kunpeng-1B sounding rocket from a launch pad in Danzhou City in the southern Chinese Hainan Province. The rocket reached a maximum height of 316 kilometres (196 miles), with the total flight time coming to 10 minutes.
The head of the rocket was equipped with a new altitude control system. New materials of flexible carbon fibre were also used in the rocket to enable easier flight.
This is the first time Kunpeng 1B’s arrow configuration of altitude control system and carbon fibre stretching rod has been used on a sounding rocket in China. It makes the detector more flexible and lightweight.
This sounding rocket is expected to fulfil its mission of taking measurements in the upper atmosphere that will help with research of rocket sounding, high-speed flight and space tourism.
The rocket’s falling ball experiment detection for further study of low latitudes in the ionosphere and in the upper atmosphere has important scientific significance.
About Sounding rockets
A sounding rocket, sometimes called a research rocket, is an instrument-carrying rocket designed to take measurements and perform scientific experiments during its sub-orbital flight.
Sounding rockets are advantageous for the research because of their low cost, short lead time and their ability to conduct research in areas inaccessible to either balloons or satellites. They are also used as test beds for equipment that will be used in more expensive and risky orbital spaceflight missions.
China first launched a Kunpeng-1 Sounding Rocket in April 2013.
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What: Successfully launched
When: 27 April 2016