A German research rocket was launched from Andøya Space November 13th, 2023, to test new technologies.
SOAR is an abbreviation for “Single-stage Operational Assessment of Red Kite”, and is a project between the German space agency DLR and Bayern-Chemie GmbH which aims to develop a new solid fueled rocket motor called Red Kite.
– Traditionally, research rockets have used older, surplus military rocket motors, says Kolbjørn Blix, Vice President Sub-Orbital at Andøya Space. – Red Kite is an exciting project which may enable us to supplement with modern rocket motors in the years to come.
Red Kite use so-called solid-fuel, meaning that the fuel is not liquid, but in the form of a rubberlike compound installed inside the motor at the factory.
– Solid fueled rocket motors are ideal for research rockets, says Blix. – They almost always work and you do not need complicated infrastructure at the launch pad to fuel the rocket. The disadvantage is that the motor is always filled with fuel, and therefore needs to be treated with care. But that is something Andøya Space have 61 years of experience with.
– This launch was the first time Red Kite actually perfomed a mission. Up to now it had only performed static firings. The SOAR rocket was therefore filled to the brim with sensors in order to gain the most amount of data from the flight.
The rocket also carried secondary experiments focusing on technologies for supersonic flight, which is speeds faster that the speed of sound.
SOAR lifted-off from Andøya Space 12:30 UTC, November 13th, and reached an apogee of 72 kilometers.
– Research rockets are made to lift scientific experiments and instruments up to a given altitude in the atmosphere and do not go into orbit around Earth, says Blix. – They are tailormade for every flight and can reach all altitudes. The standing record at Andøya Space is actually 1,600 kilometers, but the main focus of SOAR was not to climb as high as possible.
– SOAR is an exciting German technology project, and Andøya Space Sub-Orbital have contributed with launch services, telemetry services and infrastructure.
Please contact Andøya Space Sub-Orbital.