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Orion sounding rocket
Part of Hawk Family
Orion
Orion
American sounding rocket. The Orion was a single stage, unguided, fin stabilized rocket system which used a surplus US Army Hawk surface-to-air-missile rocket motor having a dual thrust propellant grain. Three fins on the aft end of the motor were canted to roll the vehicle at four revolutions per second at burnout for stability. Improved performance could be obtained by using a Nike booster stage. Payload 38 kg to 88 km or 68 kg to 71 km.

Status: Retired 2008. First Launch: 1974-05-29. Last Launch: 2008-06-27. Number: 69 . 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: 85 km (52 mi).

The standard payload for the Orion had a principal diameter of 36 cm and utilized many nose cone shapes. The normal payload length varied from 1.8 to 2.5 meters although this was not the maximum envelope. Payload diameters as small as 11 cm were flown on the Orion. Performance characteristics were most favorable for 38 to 68 kg payloads. Standard hardware included a separable clamshell nose cone and an Orion standard ignition system. Separation systems could be provided to separate the payload from the motor during ascent.



Country: USA. Launch Sites: Wallops Island, White Sands, Poker Flat, Andoya, Kiruna, Natal. Stages: Orion engine. Agency: NASA Wallops, General Atomic. Bibliography: 540.

1974 May 29 - . 19:48 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Hawk Motor test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 46 km (28 mi).

1974 November 8 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 73 km (45 mi).

1977 July 14 - . 12:30 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Parachute test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 59 km (36 mi).

1978 February 2 - . 11:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Andoya. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • A-OR-90 Orion 1 Range test - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DFVLR. Apogee: 57 km (35 mi).

1978 September 13 - . 19:36 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • K-OR-91 Range test - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DFVLR. Apogee: 62 km (38 mi).

1979 November 4 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1980 July 14 - . 19:11 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 76 km (47 mi).

1980 October 7 - . 03:36 GMT - . Launch Site: Andoya. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • TY2-7688 Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 87 km (54 mi).

1980 October 11 - . 21:57 GMT - . Launch Site: Andoya. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • TY2-7684 Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 83 km (51 mi).

1980 October 16 - . 18:54 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 75 km (46 mi).

1980 October 18 - . 02:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Andoya. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1981 February 27 - . 18:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 77 km (47 mi).

1981 July 23 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1981 July 23 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1981 August 24 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Plasma mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1981 September 24 - . 13:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Plasma mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 71 km (44 mi).

1981 November 14 - . 09:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • DFVLR Strafam 1 / 1 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DFVLR. Apogee: 60 km (37 mi).

1982 August 3 - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1983 January 13 - . 17:31 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1983 January 13 - . 18:39 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1983 April 27 - . 05:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • DFVLR Strafam 1 / 3 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DFVLR. Apogee: 58 km (36 mi).

1984 January 31 - . 21:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • DFVLR Strafam 1 / 4 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DFVLR. Apogee: 57 km (35 mi).

1984 August 16 - . 20:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1984 August 23 - . 10:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Plasma mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1985 January 28 - . 22:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Poker Flat. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1985 February 7 - . 22:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Poker Flat. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1985 February 15 - . 15:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Natal. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Fin test - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DLR. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1985 February 22 - . 15:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Natal. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Fin test - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DLR. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1985 April 2 - . 07:21 GMT - . Launch Site: Poker Flat. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Plasma mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1985 May 14 - . 04:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • DFVLR Strafam 1 / 5 Aurora mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DFVLR. Apogee: 56 km (34 mi).

1985 September 7 - . 09:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Plasma mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1985 September 10 - . 00:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Plasma mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1985 September 17 - . 19:15 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1985 October 16 - . 10:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Plasma mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1986 November 20 - . 10:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Plasma mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1987 February 17 - . 10:43 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Strafam 2 / 1 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DLR. Apogee: 59 km (36 mi).

1987 May 6 - . 05:08 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • RASMUS Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DLR. Apogee: 61 km (37 mi).

1987 July 26 - . 23:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Plasma mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1987 October 15 - . 10:52 GMT - . Launch Site: Andoya. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • MAC / Epsilon XRG Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1987 October 21 - . 21:34 GMT - . Launch Site: Andoya. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • MAC / Epsilon MAE F-75 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1987 November 12 - . 00:21 GMT - . Launch Site: Andoya. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • MAC / Epsilon MAE F-74 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 87 km (54 mi).

1988 December 6 - . 10:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • RASMUS 2 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DLR. Apogee: 65 km (40 mi).

1989 January 30 - . 08:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Strafam 2 / 2 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DLR. Apogee: 66 km (41 mi).

1990 January 25 - . 08:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Strafam 2 / 3 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DLR. Apogee: 65 km (40 mi).

1990 May 13 - . 21:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Poker Flat. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Plasma mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1991 February 3 - . 11:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Strafam 3 / 2 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DLR. Apogee: 58 km (36 mi).

1991 April 9 - . 03:41 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • RASMUS 4 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DLR. Apogee: 65 km (40 mi).

1992 September 21 - . 18:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • CSOAR Aeronomy / education mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 54 km (33 mi).

1993 February 27 - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Strafam 3 / 21 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DLR. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1994 February 19 - . 09:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket. FAILURE: Failure.
  • RASMUS 5 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DLR. Apogee: 3.00 km (1.80 mi).

1994 July 16 - . 00:23 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1994 August 22 - . 19:38 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
1998 May 6 - . 17:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Education mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1998 October 7 - . 11:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Kiruna. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Maxus test - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DLR. Apogee: 56 km (34 mi).

1999 August 5 - . 18:11 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Sub-SEM Education mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 40 km (24 mi).

2000 January 30 - . 10:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Poker Flat. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Student SRP-3 Education mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 79 km (49 mi).

2000 June 18 - . 11:03 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Education mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

2001 April 27 - . 10:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Education mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 47 km (29 mi).

2001 June 6 - . 10:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Education mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

2002 June 6 - . 10:41 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Education mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

2003 June 6 - . 10:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Student rocket Education mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 40 km (24 mi).

2004 June 9 - . 10:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Student rocket Education mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 43 km (26 mi).

2005 June 17 - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Target - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

2005 June 17 - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Target - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

2006 March 25 - . 09:00 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Target - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA, NAWC. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

2006 March 25 - . 13:07 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Target - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA, NAWC. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

2006 June 8 - . 11:11 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • Student (SUBSEM) Education mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 51 km (31 mi).

2007 December 3 - . 16:07 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.
  • NCADE Target - . Nation: USA. Agency: MDA. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

2008 June 27 - . 10:36 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Hawk. Launch Vehicle: Orion sounding rocket.

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