Orion (rocket)

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This article is about the American rocket. For the Argentine rocket, see Orion-1. For the spacecraft, see Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. For other rocketry subjects, see Orion in astronautics.

Orion is the designation of a small American sounding rocket. The Orion has a length of 5.60 meters, a diameter of 0.35 m, a launch weight of 400 kg, a launch thrust of 7 kN and a ceiling of 85 kilometers. The Orion, built by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Wallops Flight Facility, is also used as an upper stage of sounding rockets, usually paired with a Terrier as the first stage.[1]


A lightning storm over the Wallops launch pad on 9 June 1987 ignited a NASA Orion rocket and 2 other sounding rockets. The Orion flew horizontally about 300 feet into the ocean. The sounding rockets rose to around 15,000 feet altitude, then fell about 2 miles from the launch pad. No persons were hurt in the incident.[2]


  1. ^ Wade, Mark. "Orion Sounding Rocket". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2014-05-08. 
  2. ^ Patricia Tanner, Update, Air & Space/Smithsonian, Vol. 2 No. 3 (August/September 1987), p. 21