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Svalbard Mission UPSC NOTE

 Rohini RH-300 Mk-II launch

  • Rohini RH-300 Mk-II was a sounding rocket.

    • Sounding rockets are one or two stage solid propellant rockets used for probing the upper atmospheric regions and for space research.

    • Sounding rockets take their name from the nautical term "to sound," which means to take measurements.

    • 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.



  • On November 20, 1997, it was rose to the skies from Svalbard, Norway, operationalizing a new rocket launching range there.

  • The RH-300 Mk-II was given a new name by the NSC (Norwegian Space Centre): Isbjorn-1, which translates literally as ‘Polar Bear-I.’

  • The Rohini rockets had till then flown only in the tropical hot and humid conditions in India.

  • The Svalbard archipelago, on the other hand, sits in the Arctic Ocean and temperatures were on the extremely low side.



  • The rocket, unfortunately, did not achieve the predicted height, rising only up to 71 km.

  • The reason was a strange one. 

  • To keep the ambient temperature at 18 degrees celsius, it was kept covered with a velostat shroud. 

  • The idea was that it would pierce through the cover during launch. Instead, the rocket dragged it along, and the increased drag resulted in a lower altitude.

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