A disappearing rocket is a rocket, usually a sounding rocket, which is designed so that parts of the rocket body which in other rockets fall back to the ground are first explosively shattered into small pieces, in order to avoid harm to persons and objects on the ground. Use of such a rocket consequently need not be restricted to areas where debris will not cause harm.
The experimental rocket GM-12 designed by KTS in Bonn-Beuel[when?] was a disappearing rocket. It had a length of 1.85 metres, a launch weight of 23 kg, a diameter of 0.116 metres, a burn time of 2.25 seconds, and a maximum flight altitude of 12 kilometres. It may have been the only disappearing rocket ever flown. The greatest problem with disappearing rockets is that metal parts, which are necessary for parts of the cone, are difficult to break into small pieces. In the 1960s efforts were made in the United States to design a frangible version of the Arcas rocket.
- "Meteorologische Raketen in Deutschland", H.-U. Widdel, Schriftenreihe der Deutschen Raumfahrtstellung e.V., Morgenröthe-Rautenkranz, Germany, Page 37-46
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