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A sounding rocket seconds in mid-launch off the launch pad with a bright yellow plume underneath against a pale blue sky.

Sounding Rockets

For over 40 years the Sounding Rocket Program has provided critical scientific, technical, and educational contributions to the nation’s space program and is one of the most robust, versatile, and cost-effective flight programs at NASA.



Launches scheduled for 2024

Featured Story

NASA to Launch Sounding Rockets into Moon’s Shadow During Solar Eclipse

UPDATE: The three rockets comprising the APEP mission launched on Monday, April 8, 2024, at 2:40pm, 3:25pm, and 4:28pm ET from…

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Types of Sounding Rockets

Sounding rockets are small, low-cost flight opportunities to suborbital space.

Sixteen different sounding rocket vehicles, ranging from a single-stage Orion to a four-stage Black Brant XII, are available to support science research between 100 to 1400 kilometers into the atmosphere.

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Wallops Launch Schedule

Check out the latest launches supported by Wallops.

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A sounding rocket seconds in mid-launch off the launch pad with a bright white plume underneath.

Vapor Tracers

First used with sounding rockets flown in the 1950s, scientific research with experiments which inject vapor tracers in the upper atmosphere have greatly aided our understanding of our planet’s near-space environment. 

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Photo of vapor tracers being released in the sky after a rocket launch. There are two sets of tracers, each has four very fuzzy deep purple spots on top. Below that are four more light blue fuzzy dots with small faded trails leading down under them, with about 3-4 smaller blue trails. Below all of that is very light orange squiggly trails leading below. The sky is clear with many small, white stars in the background, fading down into a light orange along the horizon