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Improved Orion
Part of Hawk Family
American sounding rocket. Unguided solid propellant single stage rocket using a military surplus M112 Hawk rocket motor. The motor was a dual thrust burner with a boost phase of 5 seconds and a sustainer phase of approximately 21 seconds. The rocket accelerated the payload then for 26 seconds with peak acceleration during the boost phase of 21g. A payload mass of 100 kg could be carried to an apogee of approximately 110 km.

Status: Active. First Launch: 1990-03-06. Last Launch: 2017-03-16. Number: 67 . Payload: 100 kg (220 lb). Thrust: 7.00 kN (1,574 lbf). Gross mass: 400 kg (880 lb). Height: 5.60 m (18.30 ft). Diameter: 0.35 m (1.14 ft). Apogee: 110 km (60 mi).

Payload: 100 kg (220 lb) to a 110 km altitude.



Country: USA. Launch Sites: Wallops Island, White Sands, Poker Flat, Andoya, Kiruna, Alcantara, SvalRak, Poker Flat LC3, Poker Flat LC2. Stages: Orion engine. Agency: NASA Wallops.

1990 March 6 - . 09:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • RASMUS 3 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DLR. Apogee: 79 km (49 mi).

1994 December 5 - . 00:48 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • Hygrosonde Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Sweden. Agency: SSC. Apogee: 77 km (47 mi).

1995 July 14 - . 07:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test Orion 1 test - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DLR. Apogee: 7.00 km (4.30 mi).

1995 October 8 - . 10:36 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • Test Orion 2 test - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DLR. Apogee: 74 km (45 mi).

1995 December 4 - . 10:23 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Sweden. Agency: SSC. Apogee: 89 km (55 mi).

1997 June 4 - . 09:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Sweden. Agency: SSC. Apogee: 94 km (58 mi).

1999 July 6 - . 00:06 GMT - . Launch Site: Andoya. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • MIDAS Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Norway. Agency: NDRE. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

2000 May 6 - . 17:08 GMT - . Launch Site: Andoya. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • MIDAS Ferdinand-115 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Norway. Agency: NDRE. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

2000 May 15 - . 00:46 GMT - . Launch Site: Andoya. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • MIDAS Ferdinand-116 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Norway. Agency: NDRE. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

2001 February 19 - . 06:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • Maxus test - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DLR. Apogee: 81 km (50 mi).

2001 May 15 - . 01:57 GMT - . Launch Site: Andoya. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • Hotel Dart test - . Nation: Norway. Agency: NDRE. Apogee: 115 km (71 mi).

2001 June 17 - . 00:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Andoya. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • MIDAS Aeronomy / ionosphere mission - . Nation: Norway. Agency: NDRE. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

2001 June 24 - . 21:21 GMT - . Launch Site: Andoya. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • MIDAS Aeronomy / ionosphere mission - . Nation: Norway. Agency: NDRE. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

2001 December 16 - . 05:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • Hygrosonde II Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Sweden. Agency: SSC. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

2002 March 7 - . 09:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Poker Flat. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

2002 March 15 - . 11:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Poker Flat. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

2002 March 15 - . 13:03 GMT - . Launch Site: Poker Flat. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

2002 March 15 - . 13:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Poker Flat. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

2002 March 18 - . 21:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Poker Flat. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • SRP-4 Education / ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 89 km (55 mi).

2002 July 2 - . 01:44 GMT - . Launch Site: Andoya. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • MM-MI-12 Aeronomy / fields mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DLR. Apogee: 106 km (65 mi).

2002 July 5 - . 01:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Andoya. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • MM-MI-24 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DLR. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

2002 July 5 - . 01:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Andoya. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • MM-MI-25 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DLR. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

2003 July 1 - . 09:23 GMT - . Launch Site: SvalRak. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • ROMA 2003 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DLR. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

2003 July 4 - . 08:20 GMT - . Launch Site: SvalRak. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • ROMA 2003 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DLR. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

2003 July 6 - . 08:23 GMT - . Launch Site: SvalRak. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • ROMA 2003 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DLR. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

2003 October 9 - . 11:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • Student rocket Education mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 64 km (39 mi).

2004 October 28 - . 19:49 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • REXUS-2/ECOMA Education/Meteor mission - . Nation: Sweden. Agency: DLR, SSC. Apogee: 91 km (56 mi).

    The REXUS program was a joint project between the Swedish Space Corporation SSC, ESRANGE, and the Mobile Rocket Base (Moraba) of the German Aerospace Center DLR, conducted by newly founded EUROLAUNCH. The scientific payload capacity was shared between Swedish and German student experimenters. REXUS was considered as an annual sounding rocket program.


2005 January 10 - . 04:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • MAGIC Meteorite dust mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: SSC. Apogee: 95 km (59 mi).

2005 March 15 - . 05:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Poker Flat. Launch Complex: Poker Flat LC3. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • DUST Aeronomy / dust mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 105 km (65 mi).

2005 March 15 - . 07:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Poker Flat. Launch Complex: Poker Flat LC2. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • DUST Aeronomy / dust mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 105 km (65 mi).

2005 May 17 - . 11:14 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • MAGIC Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

2005 June 9 - . 10:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • Student rocket Education mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 49 km (30 mi).

2005 July 4 - . 08:41 GMT - . Launch Site: Andoya. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • IMEF Aeronomy / ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NDRE. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

2005 September 9 - . 02:45 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • Acoustic monitoring Calibration mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA, USN. Apogee: 50 km (31 mi).

2005 September 9 - . 06:14 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • Acoustic monitoring Calibration mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA, USN. Apogee: 50 km (31 mi).

2005 September 29 - . 09:15 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • Telemetry test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA, USN. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

2005 November 9 - . 15:40 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • Target - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA, NAWC. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

2006 April 5 - . 05:56 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • Education mission - . Nation: Sweden. Agency: DLR, SSC. Apogee: 95 km (59 mi).

2006 July 1 - . 07:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Andoya. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: ARR. Apogee: 40 km (24 mi).

2006 July 21 - . 09:04 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • Target - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA, NAWC. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

2006 July 21 - . 13:05 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • Target - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA, NAWC. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

2008 April 1 - . 12:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • SSC APR ONE - . Nation: Sweden. Agency: SSC. Apogee: 101 km (62 mi).

2008 October 27 - . 06:08 GMT - . Launch Site: Natal. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • Parelhas - . Nation: Brazil. Apogee: 95 km (59 mi).

2009 January 10 - . 23:17 GMT - . Launch Site: Poker Flat. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • NASA 30.073UO - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Greenbelt. Class: Earth. Type: Ionosphere satellite. Apogee: 98 km (60 mi).

2009 March 12 - . 10:08 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • SSC REXUS 6 - . Nation: Sweden. Apogee: 88 km (54 mi). Ionos./Tech.

2009 March 13 - . 06:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • SSC REXUS 5 - . Nation: Sweden. Apogee: 87 km (54 mi). Atmos./Tech.

2009 May 29 - . 13:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Alcantara. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • Maracati 1 - . Nation: Brazil. Apogee: 93 km (57 mi). Test.

2010 March 2 - . 07:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • SSC REXUS 7 - . Nation: Sweden. Apogee: 83 km (51 mi). Aeronomy/Technology payload.

2010 March 4 - . 10:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • SSC REXUS 8/ - . Nation: Sweden. Apogee: 88 km (54 mi). Technology payload.

2010 December 6 - . 17:19 GMT - . Launch Site: Alcantara. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • Maracati 2 - . Nation: Brazil. Apogee: 103 km (64 mi). Range test prior to Microg 1A launch..

2011 February 22 - . 12:56 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • REXUS 9 - . Nation: Sweden. Apogee: 81 km (50 mi). Microgravity experiments..
  • EURO REXUS 9 - . Nation: Sweden. Agency: EUROL. Apogee: 81 km (50 mi).

2011 February 23 - . 10:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • REXUS 10 - . Nation: Sweden. Apogee: 82 km (50 mi). Microgravity experiments..
  • EURO REXUS 10 - . Nation: Sweden. Agency: EUROL. Apogee: 82 km (50 mi).

2011 May 11 - . 18:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Natal. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • Camurupim - . Nation: Brazil. Agency: AEB. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

2011 November 25 - . 23:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Natal. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • Orion V05 - . Nation: Brazil. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).
  • Brasil-Alemanha - . Nation: Brazil. Agency: AEB. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

2012 March 19 - . 14:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • REXUS 12 - . Nation: Sweden. Apogee: 82 km (50 mi). Microgravity payload..

2012 November 16 - . 10:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • EURO REXUS 11 - . Nation: Sweden. Agency: EUROL. Apogee: 79 km (49 mi).

2013 May 7 - . 04:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • REXUS 14 - . Nation: Sweden. Apogee: 81 km (50 mi). Microgravity mission.

2013 May 9 - . 04:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • REXUS 13 - . Nation: Sweden. Apogee: 83 km (51 mi). Microgravity mission.

2014 May 28 - . 11:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • REXUS-16 - . Nation: Sweden. Apogee: 87 km (54 mi). Atmospheric / technology mission..

2014 May 29 - . 10:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • REXUS-15 - . Nation: Sweden. Apogee: 80 km (49 mi). Atmospheric / technology mission..

2015 March 17 - . 09:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • REXUS 17 - . Nation: Sweden. Apogee: 81 km (50 mi). Microgravity payload..

2015 March 18 - . 13:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • REXUS 18 - . Nation: Sweden. Apogee: 81 km (50 mi). Microgravity payload..

2017 March 15 - . 10:43 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • REXUS 21 - . Nation: Sweden. Type: Microgravity. Apogee: 86 km (53 mi). Microgravity mission. Impacted in ESRANGE B zone..

2017 March 16 - . 13:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Improved Orion.
  • REXUS 22 - . Nation: Sweden. Type: Microgravity. Apogee: 84 km (52 mi). Microgravity mission. Impacted in ESRANGE B zone..


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