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ISRO launches the sounding rocket RH-560 from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the sounding rocket RH-560 on Friday from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota Range (SHAR) in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh.

Sounding rockets are one or two-stage solid propellant rockets used for probing the upper atmospheric regions and for space research. They also serve as easily affordable platforms to test or prove prototypes of new components or subsystems intended for use in launch vehicles and satellites.

The launch of the first sounding rocket from Thumba near Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on 21 November 1963 marked the beginning of the Indian Space Programme. The first rockets were two-stage rockets imported from Russia (M-100) and France (Centaure).

ISRO started launching indigenously made sounding rockets in 1965 and the experience gained was of immense value in the mastering of solid propellant technology. In 1975, all sounding rocket activities were consolidated under the Rohini Sounding Rocket (RSR) Programme. RH-75, with a diameter of 75mm was the first truly Indian sounding rocket to be launched.

Currently, three versions of sounding rockets are operational. They are RH-200, RH-300-MK-II, and RH- 560 MK-II. They cover a payload range of 8-10 Kg and an apogee range (the point of maximum separation from the earth) of 80-475 km. ISRO launches the sounding rocket RH-560-MK-II from Sriharikota. Several scientific missions with national and international participation have been conducted using the Rohini sounding rockets. The sounding rocket RH-560 could carry a payload of 100 kg to an altitude of 470 km.

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