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Sounding Rocket Program Description Rocket Characters Scientific Missions

Sounding Rocket Program

Program Description

This program carries out the technical development of hybrid sounding rockets, with the goal of performing various sub-orbital scientific experiments with different trajectories.

In 2016, NSPO solicited multi-functional rocket teams from domestic production, academic and research circles, with the aim of establishing a service platform for hybrid sounding rocket launch in Taiwan. The multi-functional hybrid sounding rocket is planned by NSPO and the promotion of space technology companies to develop the multi-functional hybrid rocket system in two and a half years, thereby gradually cultivating new generation of civil rocket engineering, space science talents and emerging Space Industry Corporation in Taiwan. In addition, NSPO cooperates with NCKU in academia to develop a forward-looking hybrid sounding rocket, and uses the research and development capabilities of the academia to develop advanced technologies related to sounding rockets. In addition to improving the integration capabilities of sounding rocket systems, it is also necessary to cultivate talents in rocket engineering, scientific instruments and space science, so that the academic community has the opportunity to expand the field of study, and at the same time promote the rocket-derived technology generated by this program to the industry.


Rocket Characters

Multi-functioned hybrid sounding rocket systems

  • Multi-functioned hybrid sounding rocket systems, with multi-stages designs, feature stage separation and payload fairing jettison functions. It uses safe and environmental fuels.

  • The rocket owns capabilities of trajectories optimization and attitude controls. It can provide suitable environments that payload needed most to improve the measurement qualities.

  • The apogee of rocket is greater than 150 km.

Multi-functioned hybrid sounding rocket systems

Advanced hybrid sounding rocket systems

  • Advanced hybrid sounding rocket systems, with two-stage designs, features stage separation and payload fairing jettison functions.

  • The rocket owns no guidance and control systems but utilizes aerodynamic stability designs. It uses slant launch to maximize the safety assureance.

  • The apogee of rocket is greater than 80 km.

 Advanced hybrid sounding rocket systems

Scientific Missions

Ionosphere Scintillation Package; ISP

ISP, developed by Central University,  installs as the mission payload on a multi-functioned hybrid sounding rocket to explore ionospheric E-region plasma irregularities over Taiwan.

ISP consists of two Compact Ionosphere Probes (CIP) and one aspect meter (ASM) to assist attitude determination of the sounding rocket. One CIP plays a role of Retarding Potential Analyzer and the other CIP as Ion Drift Meter.

CIP is capable of in-situ measuring characteristics of plasma irregularities like ion concentrations, ion velocity, ion temperature, or electron temperature in a very high sampling rate.

This mission will significantly increase the technological readiness level of  indigenously developed mission payload that is crucial to understand the  ionospheric E-region plasma irregularity structure co-observed with ground radars over Taiwan.


Mesosphere and Ionosphere Plasma Exploration complex; MIPEX & Compact Scintillator Array Detector, ComSAD

Two scientific instruments, MIPEX and ComSAD, developed by Cheng Kung University, are on-boarded on the Advance hybrid sounding rocket to explore the space plasma environment from the Mesosphere to the Lower Thermosphere as well as the characteristics of the cosmic ray.

The three sensors of the MIPEX measure the electron temperature and density, ion energy distribution function and ion drift velocity simultaneously.

Limited by the flight platform and the performance of the instruments, the in-situ plasma measurement at the Mesosphere and lower Thermosphere is quite rare, this experiment can provide unique high-quality data of the plasma environment to explore the ion distribution and the electrodynamic processes in the Ionosphere D, E layers.

ComSAD is the particle detector operating on a sounding rocket. Fluorescent signals are stimulated when cosmic ray passing through the plastic scintillator array and the signals will be collected by SiPMs. Therefore, ComSAD is capable of determining the flux and the incident directions of the cosmic rays by the lit scintillators.

ComSAD can measure the first 4D cosmic ray distribution in the world.