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Suborbital Launch Site
Category of launch sites.



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Aberporth The Aberporth military test range is located on Cardigan Bay on the west coast of Wales. It already became associated with solid rocket tests during the Second World War. Development of surface-to-air missiles began there in 1948 and tests were made of re-entry and high-speed aircraft shapes in the 1960's. Due to the military nature of the site, the only sounding rocket launches have been to support military test operations.

Akita Akita Rocket Range. Sounding rocket launch site for Kappa series.

Andoya Andoya Rocket Range (ARR) is the world's northernmost permanent launch facility for sounding rockets and scientific balloons and is responsible for all scientific-related balloon and rocket operations in Norwegian territory. ARR provides complete services for launch, operations, data acquisition, recovery and ground instrumentation support. The range has conducted more than 650 rocket launches and hosted scientists and engineers from more than 70 institutes and universities.

Anhueng South Korean sounding rocket launch site, used from June 1993.

Anna Plains Sounding rocket launch location.

Antigua Antigua Air Force Station. Tracking facility also used for sounding rocket launches.

Arecibo Sounding rocket launch site near world's largest radio telescope.

Ascension Ascension Island. Sounding rocket launch site located on an island in the South Atlantic near a NASA/USAF tracking station.

Balasore Indian military testing range.

Barking Sands Military missile test and sounding rocket launch site. In use from 1962 to present. Sandia National Laboratories operates the Kauai Test Facility for the Department of Energy and, through inter-Service Support Agreements provides the Barking Sands Pacific Missile Range Facility with rocket launch services for target systems and upper atmosphere measurements. PMRF/KTF is recognized in the INF Treaty as an authorized site from which launches of the STARS missile can be conducted. The site was recently involved in anti-ballistic missile tests.

Barksdale AFB Null

Barter Island Sounding rocket launch location.

Base Matienzo Sounding rocket launch location.

Bigen Island Bigen Island, Aur Atoll, Marshall Islands, was a sounding rocket launch location.

Bikini Nuclear test site. Sounding rockets were launched from here to monitor blast and fallout of nuclear explosions.

Birdling's Flat Sounding rocket launch site, co-located with radar site operated by University of Canterbury.

Biscarosse In April 1962 France signed the final agreements with Algeria, requiring them to evacuate their rocket test ranged there by July 1967. Three months later a site on French soil on the Bay of Biscay, at Landes, near Biscarosse, was selected. The site would allow the testing of missiles over the Atlantic out to a range of 3000 km. This would put the RV impact area near the Azores, and a tracking station was opened in October 1966 on Flores island.

Black Mesa Military testing range.

Black Rock Desert Sounding rocket launch location.

Blue Origin Blue Origin was founded and funded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, founder of amazon.com. Commercial space passenger service would be conducted from a private spaceport at the 165,000-acre Corn Ranch, 40 kilometers north of Van Horn, west Texas. The launch point would be 8 kilometers west of Highway 54. The spaceport included a vehicle processing facility, a launch complex, vehicle landing and recovery area, an astronaut training facility, lodging, and other support facilities. The launch pad covered 3,000 square meters; the landing pad would be located 6.1 km north of it.

Camp de Suippes Test rocket launch location.

Cape Karikari Sounding rocket launch location known to have been used for 7 launches in 1965, reaching up to 88 kilometers altitude.

Cape Parry Sounding rocket launch location on DEW (Distant Early Warning) line.

Carnarvon Location of a major NASA tracking station, also used for sounding rocket launches.

Cassino Sounding rocket launch location.

CELPA Sounding rocket launch location.

Charlestown Sounding rocket launch site, used from 1965. One launch in 1991 reached 90 kilometers altitude.

Chiha-ri Sounding rocket launch location.

Chilca Chilca Launch Range. Sounding rocket launch location.

Chilca PLOB Chilca PLOB

Chio He AFB At 2230 hours, 14 December 2004, Taiwan's National Space Organization launched Sounding Rocket-4 from Pingtung's Chio He Base, carrying out secondary orbital scientific experiments. The NSPO was responsible for planning this particular scientific experiment; it commissioned the sounding rocket made by the Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology to serve as the carrier. The plan was implemented in cooperation with scientific teams from National Central University and National Cheng Kong University.

Cold Lake Sounding rocket launch location.

Coronie Sounding rocket launch location.

Cuxhaven As the only site in Germany with an unrestricted over-water firing sector over the North Sea, Cuxhaven was once touted as 'the Cape Canaveral of Germany'. Primarily known to space historians for the three post-war V-2 launches under project Backfire, it played an important role in the nascent post-World War II German rocketry. A nearly completely unknown series of scientific sounding rocket launches were made from the area in 1957-1964 before the launch site was closed on (purportedly) safety and (actually) military grounds.

Datil Military testing range.

Dumont d'Urville Sounding rocket launch location.

Eareckson Eareckson Air Station. Sounding rocket launch location.

East Quoddy Sounding rocket launch location.

Eglin This US Air Force proving ground and missile test range, based in Valparaiso, Florida and extending over a vast expanse of the Gulf of Mexico, was founded in 1935, In early 1946 the First Experimental Guided Missiles Group was activated at Eglin. The highly-instrumented Eglin Gulf Test Range supported flight tests of Bomarc, Matador, Quail, and Hound Dog cruise missiles. Both the military and NASA used Eglin to support launch of sounding rockets in support of their programs. The actual number of missile tests was many times greater than listed here.

El Arenosillo Spanish sounding rocket launch location.

Emamshahr Iranian military testing range. In use for flight test of the Shahab 3 IRBM from 1998.

Emba Sounding rocket launch location.

Eniwetok Eniwetok Proving Grounds. Nuclear test site. Sounding rockets were launched from here to monitor nuclear blast effects and fallout.

Fort Bliss Military testing range. In use from 1945 to present.

Fort Churchill Fort Churchill is an Arctic site on Hudson Bay with a rail link. It is near the point of maximum auroral activity. This combination of circumstances made it ideal for far-north sounding rocket launches. In 1954, the Canadian Army conducted the first series of rocket firings at Fort Churchill. Following a period of inactivity, construction of more elaborate facilities in support of the International Geophysical Year began in 1956. IGY firings began in July 1957. The range was closed again in December 1958 after the IGY program ended. It was reopened again in August 1959 by the US Army as part of its network of sounding rocket stations. This allowed use of the site by other groups over the years.

Fort Sherman US Army base and sounding rocket launch location.

Fort Wingate Fort Wingate Depot Activity. Military testing range.

Fort Yukon Sounding rocket launch location.

Gan Island Sounding rocket launch location.

Gillam Sounding rocket launch location.

Gilson Butte Military testing range. In use from 1964 to 1970.

Grand Turk Island Grand Turk Auxiliary AFB.

Green River Military testing range used to launch several hundred Athena rockets from 1964 to 1973. These sent re-entry test vehicles or anti-ballistic missile targets to impact points in the US Army's White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. This was one of the few examples of sustained interstate missile tests within the United States.

Guam Sounding rocket launch location.

Haikou Sounding rocket launch location.

Hall Beach FOX-MAIN DEW site. Sounding rocket launch location known to have been used for 7 launches in 1971, reaching up to 270 kilometers altitude.

Harbin range Military testing range. In use from 1967 to present.

Heidekraut German test range for production V-2 missiles.

Heidelager Truppenubungsplatz Heidelager. German test range for production V-2 missiles.

Holloman Holloman Air Development Center. Military missile and sounding rocket launch site. Also notable for several rocket-powered sleds, used to test a variety of manned and unmanned aircraft and aerospace vehicles at supersonic speeds.

Ile du Levant In October 1950 a military missile test site was established at the French naval base on the Ile du Levant, an offshore island in the Mediterranean near Toulon. This was named CERES (Special Weapons Research and Tests Center) in 1952 and replaced a beach site at Pampelone used for ad-hoc launches since 1948. In 1968 it was expanded to include the La Renardiere site on Pont ST Mandrier and renamed CEM (Mediterranean Test Center). La Renardiere had been used in 1945 for testing the first French liquid propelled rocket, the EA 41.

Jingyu Chinese ICBM missile test site. Not used for satellite launches to date.

Jiu Peng Jiu Peng air base, Pingtung, Formosa

Jiu Peng AB Sounding rocket launch location.

Johnston Island US military base on this island in the Pacific Ocean. Used for rocket-launched nuclear tests in the 1950's. In the 1960's it was the site for the operational AFP-437 anti-satellite system. The system was retired in 1975. Several sounding rockets were also launched over the years, either in support of nuclear tests or in experiments related to anti-satellite technology.

Kapani Tonneo In December 1975 Otrag signed an agreement with the Congolese government to established a rocket range to test its low-cost rockets deep in the interior at Shaba (Katanga) province. The austere site included logistic support via antique British Argosy transports landing at a dirt strip on a plateau overlooking the jungle. Here a pad and gantry were erected and flight tests began in 1977. However Otrag's activities made the great powers nervous. The USSR was not interested in Germany achieving an indigenous long-range rocket activity. The government of the Congo was pressured by the USSR to withdraw permission to use the site. Otrag was thrown out of the country in April 1979.

Kerguelen Kerguelen Range. Sounding rocket launch location.

Keweenaw Keweenaw Rocket Launch Site. In 1962 the University of Michigan proposed a launch site near the center of the North American continent. This would fill in a gap in the US Army's Meteorological Rocket Network. Following a survey of available sites a location on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Lake Superior was selected. The site was in use from 1964-1971.

Kheysa Soviet arctic sounding rocket launch site.

Kindley Kindley AFB. Weather rocket launch site.

Kiruna The sounding rocket launch site at Kiruna was officially opened in September 1966 under the auspices of ESRO (European Space Research Organisation). When ESA was created in 1972 and replaced ESRO, Kiruna came under the management of the Swedish Space Corporation, a state-owned limited liability company under the Swedish Ministry of Industry. The 'Esrange' is located 45 km from the town of Kiruna and has seven permanent pads able to launch the largest sounding rockets, including the Black Brant 9, Skylark 12, and Castor 4B-boosted vehicles.

Koroni Sounding rocket launch location. Beach launch area.

Kronogard Sounding rocket launch location.

Kummersdorf German Army firing range, on the rail line 46 km south of Berlin. The German Army conducted rocket firing tests here from 1930 to 1945, and von Braun's rocket team worked here at first while developing the V-2. Actual launches of the rockets, after the earliest tests, moved to Greifswald Oie and then Peenemuende on the Baltic.

Kwajalein The US military base located on this Pacific island group has major tracking facilities and is near the impact area for dummy warheads fired by ICBM's from Vandenberg AFB. It is a key test location for anti-ballistic missile systems.

Lancelin Sounding rocket launch location.

Laogang Sounding rocket launch location.

Las Palmas Sounding rocket launch location.

Le Cardonnet Test rocket launch location.

Leba Sounding rocket launch location.

Little Carter Bay Sounding rocket launch location.

Mar Chiquita Sounding rocket launch location.

Marambio Sounding rocket launch location.

Marka Marka Range. Sounding rocket launch location.

McMurdo Station Sounding rocket launch location.

Mercury site Sounding rocket launch location for support of nuclear tests.

Midway Midway Island is approximately half way between North America and Asia. The uninhabited place was seized as an American possession in 1903 to provide a base for the first transpacific cable. It was later developed into a naval air station and figured importantly in early military and commercial aviation as a refuelling point for transpacific flights. It consists of two major atolls, Sand Island and Eastern Island, both of them almost entirely taken up by airfields.

Minakh Syrian missile base north of Alleppo.

Mojave Mojave Spaceport. Location of Scaled Composites flight test facility, and the first FAA-certified inland spaceport. It was used for 17 launches of the Tier One manned spaceplane from 2003 to 2004, reaching up to 112 kilometers altitude.

Molodezhnaya Sounding rocket launch location.

NAMFI The NATO Missile Firing Installation is NATO's main Firing Range. It is located on the island of Crete, outside the town of Chania.

NAOTS F2H aircraft flying from this Naval Air Station launched Rockair sounding rockets in 1955, known to have been used for 5 launches, reaching up to 55 kilometers altitude.

Natal Sounding rocket launch location.

Negev Negev Desert test site. Military testing range.

Nenoksa Primary missile testing range of the Russian Navy. The number of actual missile tests was in the hundreds.

Nevada Test Site Nuclear test site. Sounding rockets and test vehicles have been launched in support of US nuclear weapons development from the site since the 1950's.

Niijima Sounding rocket and test vehicle launch site.

Nissaki-Karystos Sounding rocket launch location.

North Truro Nike-Hydac launch site located at North Truro Air Force Station on Cape Cod, used 1969-1970.

Nouadhibou Sounding rocket launch location.

Novaya Zemlya Sounding rocket launch location known to have been used for 2 launches in 1961, reaching up to 100 kilometers altitude.

Obachi Location used for release and launch of balloon-launched Kappa sounding rockets in 1961.

Okhotsk Sounding rocket launch location; offshore point used for launch of SLBM's from submarines.

Pameungpeuk Sounding rocket launch location.

Peenemuende Heersversuchsstelle Peenemunde. First launch site in the world, used for development of the V-1, A-4/V-2, Wasserfall, and other missiles. Among many major facilities, engine test stands were built that were capable of accommodating planned engines for the A-10 intercontinental missile. 296 known launches were made from the site between 1937 and 1945; the actual number of launches was much greater.

Point Arguello Naval Missile Facility. The US Navy had established a Naval Air Facility at Point Mugu for cruise missile test in November 1945. After the Air Force had acquired the northern part of Camp Cooke from the Army for use as Vandenberg AFB, the surplus southern portion of the former camp, encompassing over 19,800 acres, was transferred to the U.S. Navy in May 1958. The Navy subsequently established a Pacific Missile Range with headquarters at Point Mugu and instrumentation sites along the California coast and at various islands in the Pacific.

Point Barrow Sounding rocket launch location.

Point Mugu Naval Missile and Astronautics Center. US Naval Air Station and major missile testing center. The actual total of missile tests is many times greater than those listed.

Poker Flat Sounding rocket launch site. In use from 1969 to present. Poker Flat Rocket Range (PFRR) contains five major launch pads. Pads 1 and 2 each have a 7.5K launcher, pads 3 and 4 each contain 20K MRL launchers, and pad 5 contains a 4K twin boom launcher. Pad 3 is equipped with a moveable launcher enclosure which can be used to protect a rocket on pad 3 and workers from the severe winter weather.

Primrose Lake Sounding rocket launch location.

Puente del Inca Sounding rocket launch location.

Qom Military testing range, located near this Iranian religious center.

Raketenflugplatz The world's first rocket port, an abandoned German Army storage facility in the northern suburbs of Berlin.

Ramey Ramey AFB. Sounding rocket launch site used in support of high-altitude monitoring after Project Argus nuclear tests. Six launches in 1958 reached up to 825 kilometers altitude.

Rarotonga Sounding rocket launch location.

Red Lake Sounding rocket range, known to have been used for 23 launches in 1979, reaching up to 215 kilometers altitude.

Reggane Sounding rocket launch location.

Resolute Bay Sounding rocket launch location. Magnetic North Pole Station.

Robins AFB Originally known as the Georgia Air Depot, this major Air Force maintenance facility was established in 1941.

Rosamund Dry Lake DZ Air-launched rocket drop zone, Rosamund Dry Lake, California

Rothera Sounding rocket launch location.

Ryori Sounding rocket launch location.

Salto di Quirra Salto di Quirra, in southeast Sardinia near the town of Perdas de Fogu, is an inter-service missile test center operated by the Italian Air Force. It also supports sounding rocket launches and test of larger rockets in support of Italy's abandoned ballistic missile and on-and-of satellite launcher programs.

San Clemente San Clemente Island, Pacific Missile Range. Military facility on the California Channel Islands, used for rocket launches in support of other missile tests from Vandenberg or Point Mugu. In use from 1957. Plans were made for an off-shore launch platform here for the Starstruck vehicle.

San Nicolas San Nicolas Island, Pacific Missile Range. Military facility on the California Channel Islands, used for rocket launches in support of other missile tests from Vandenberg or Point Mugu.

Santiago Ixcuintla Sounding rocket launch location.

Sary Shagan Primary Soviet anti-ballistic missile test site. The actual number of missile tests ran into the thousands.

Sendai Null

Shijiedu Sounding rocket launch location.

Sierra de Juarez Sounding rocket launch site, used in 1959.

Siple Siple Station. Sounding rocket launch location.

Sonde Stromfjord The Danish Meteorological Institute established this sounding rocket range in 1971. The site was located next to an airport at the end of the fjord and was only occupied during launch campaigns. The location was well-suited for observation of the Arctic aurora and ionosphere.

Sonmiani Sounding rocket launch location.

South Uist British missile test range, occupying a good portion of northwest South Uist island in the Hebrides. Aside from missile testing, it has also been used for launch of Skua and Petrel meteorological rockets.

Southend Sounding rocket launch location.

Sovetskaya Gavan Sounding rocket launch location.

Spaceport America Spaceport America was conceived in the early 1990s by the Southwest Space Task Force, a private group of New Mexican space activists. Studies led them to concentrate on 70 square-km of state-owned land, 72 km north of Las Cruces, New Mexico, near a locale known as Upham. In 2003 the governor and state legislature were finally sold on the idea of developing the site as America's premiere inland commercial spaceport.

SvalRak Sounding rocket launch site, in the arctic archipelago of Svalbard, provides unique conditions for rocket studies of the dayside polar cusp, cleft and cap. The site is ideal for scientific exploration of the dayside aurora and processes in the magnetospheric boundary layer.

Syowa Base Sounding rocket launch location.

Tartagal Sounding rocket launch location.

Tawiwa Libyan rocket test range, 600 km south of Tripoli. Site of tests of Otrag's low cost launch vehicle from 1981 to 1982, reaching up to 150 kilometers altitude.

Thule AFB Air Force base also used for sounding rocket launches.

Thumba Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launch Station. Sounding rocket launch location.

Tilla Tilla Firing Range, Malute, Jhelum region, Punjab, Pakistan

Tonopah Tonopah Test Range. Sounding rocket and test vehicle launch site. Conducted launches in support of US nuclear weapons development programs.

Vernon Test rocket launch location.

Vik Sounding rocket launch location.

Villa Reynolds Villa Reynolds Air Base. Sounding rocket launch location.

Wake Island US Pacific test vehicle launch site. In use from 1974 for launches of re-entry test vehicles and anti-ballistic missile targets.

White Sands White Sands Missile Range occupies an area 160 x 65 km in the Tularosa Basin of southern New Mexico, across the Sacramento Mountain range from Roswell. In the 1930's, Robert Goddard, after surveying weather conditions and population densities, had selected Roswell for his pioneering rocket tests. White Sands, a true desert area, was even more unpopulated than Roswell. German advances in rocketry during World War II impelled the US Army to begin programs to exploit this technology. The White Sands Proving Ground was established for testing German and American long-range rockets on 9 July 1945. Seven days later the first atomic bomb was exploded at Trinity Site, near the north boundary of the range. The first launch of a Tiny Tim rocket was on 26 September 1945. On 11 October a Tiny Tim boosted a WAC Corporal rocket from the tower. This was the first use of Launch Complex 33, later to be used for V-2, Nike, Viking, Corporal, Lance and Multiple Launch Rocket System testing.

Wurtsmith AFB The base was used by the Army Air Corps under tha names of Loud-Reames Aviation Field (1923-1942) and Oscoda Army Air Field (1942-1951). It was received its current name in 1951 when a he first of a succession of Air Defence Command squadrons were based there. Following runway and hangar improvements, B-52 bomber wings also occupied the base from 1961. In 1973 the Air Force base was closed and the facility began a new life as the public Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport.

Yuma Yuma Proving Ground. Sounding rocket launch location.

Zingst A simple launch pad was set up at this East German firing range on the Baltic Sea for some of the last firings of the MMR-06 sounding rocket.

Launch Sites: Tilla, Midway, Wurtsmith AFB, Raketenflugplatz, Kummersdorf, Cuxhaven, Peenemuende, Robins AFB, Heidelager, Heidekraut, White Sands, Point Arguello, Holloman, Camp de Suippes, Vernon, Le Cardonnet, Poker Flat, Fort Churchill, NAOTS, Point Mugu, Bikini, Ile du Levant, Akita, Guam, Mercury site, San Nicolas, Eniwetok, Kheysa, Tonopah, San Clemente, Johnston Island, Ramey, Sary Shagan, Aberporth, Eglin, Sierra de Juarez, Laogang, Fort Wingate, Shijiedu, Salto di Quirra, Obachi, Kronogard, Novaya Zemlya, Kwajalein, Reggane, Kindley, Sonmiani, McMurdo Station, Andoya, Barking Sands, CELPA, South Uist, Ascension, Kerguelen, Datil, Birdling's Flat, Sovetskaya Gavan, Niijima, Fort Bliss, Black Mesa, Thumba, Leba, Green River, Little Carter Bay, Carnarvon, Puente del Inca, Keweenaw, Vik, Thule AFB, Point Barrow, Kiruna, Base Matienzo, Natal, Cape Karikari, Gilson Butte, Rarotonga, Biscarosse, Pameungpeuk, Coronie, Nenoksa, Antigua, Grand Turk Island, Arecibo, Koroni, Nissaki-Karystos, Resolute Bay, El Arenosillo, Cassino, Tartagal, Las Palmas, Yuma, Fort Sherman, Dumont d'Urville, Emba, Mar Chiquita, Primrose Lake, Cape Parry, Gan Island, Molodezhnaya, North Truro, Harbin range, Syowa Base, Barter Island, East Quoddy, Ryori, Hall Beach, Sonde Stromfjord, Gillam, Villa Reynolds, Nouadhibou, Wake Island, Chilca, Lancelin, Eareckson, Marambio, Kapani Tonneo, Siple, Red Lake, Balasore, Southend, Jingyu, Tawiwa, Okhotsk, Chilca PLOB, Marka, Fort Yukon, Zingst, Haikou, Cold Lake, Negev, Qom, Chiha-ri, Santiago Ixcuintla, Anhueng, Bigen Island, Nevada Test Site, Anna Plains, SvalRak, Rothera, Mojave, Jiu Peng AB, Charlestown, Emamshahr, Black Rock Desert, Chio He AFB, Spaceport America, Blue Origin, NAMFI, Barksdale AFB, Jiu Peng, Minakh, Rosamund Dry Lake DZ, Sendai.

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