On November 6th, 2015, UP Aerospace Inc. launched the 20-foot (6 meter) tall SL-10 rocket (a small sounding rocket) into near-space. The mission was to deploy the Maraia Capsule testing the aerodynamics and stability of the payload on re-entry to the atmosphere. The rocket reached an altitude of 396,000 feet (120,700 meters) and speeds up to Mach 5.5 (3800 mph or 6115 km/h) at engine burnout. The event was recorded with an attached GoPro. The action camera has recorded amazing images of Earth and the space.
UP Aerospace, Inc. is a private spaceflight corporation headquartered in Denver, Colorado. UP Aerospace provides ultra-low cost space access and payload transportation for corporate, military and educational payloads, via their SpaceLoft XL sounding rocket launch vehicles.
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. The rockets are used to carry instruments from 50 to 1,500 kilometres (31 to 932 mi) above the surface of the Earth, the altitude generally between weather balloons and satellites – the maximum altitude for balloons is about 40 kilometres (25 mi) and the minimum for satellites is approximately 120 kilometres (75 mi).
The origin of the term comes from nautical vocabulary to sound, which is to throw a weighted line from a ship into the water to measure the water’s depth. The term itself has its etymological roots in the Portuguese / Italian / Spanish and French words for probe, which are “sonda” and “sonde”, respectively. Sounding in the rocket context is equivalent to taking a measurement.