Meteor (rocket)

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Meteor is a designation of a series of Polish sounding rockets. The Meteor rockets were built between 1963 and 1974.

Meteor was the one and two stages meteorological rockets, using the solid fuel, constructed for the research of the top layers of terrestrial atmosphere, also directions and forces of winds from 18 to more than 50 km above the Earth surface. These rockets were designed by Polish engineers of Warsaw Aviation Institute (among them was Professor Jacek Walczewski and engineer Adam Obidziński) and had been produced by WZK-Mielec factory.

The History[edit]

The first launching site of the sounding rockets in Poland was Błędowska Desert, where since 1958 to 1963, the rockets of different types had been launched; among others RD and Rasko. During a flight, the biological experiment with earlier trained two white mouses was conducted (the RM-2D rocket achieved the altitude of 1580 meters).

Since 1965 to April 1970, the Meteor-1 rockets had been launched from "spaceport" located 5 km from Ustka town. This programme had been continued to 1974, when rockets were bearing out from the area of experimental center founded there during the years of the Second World War, located on west side of Łeba town. Currently, it is in the museum (the starting place with ramp and the radar bases).

There was 224 flights of "Meteor-1" rocket series (including prototypes). The valuable data both meteorological and connected with rocket techniques were found as the result of these researches.

The "Meteor-1", "Meteor-2H" and "Meteor 2K" (the largest civilian rocket developed in Poland) were single-stage rockets. The "Meteor 3" was a two-stage rocket, developed from "Meteor 1".

Meteor 1 Meteor 2H Meteor 2K Meteor 3
maximum altitude 40 km 68 km 100 km 65 km
takeoff thrust 14 kN 24 kN 52 kN 14 kN
diameter 12 cm 35 cm 35 cm 12 cm
length 2.5 m 4.5 m 4.3 m 4.3 m

Meteor rockets had been launched from Łeba and Ustka. Five Meteor rockets missions were conducted around 1970 from Zingst, in the former Eastern Germany. The programme of flights of Meteor-2 was finished during the same year, when Poland started to participate in Interkosmos research, using the Vertical rockets.

Meteor-1[edit]

One stage, but two units rocket called "Meteor-1" had the length of 2470 mm and the initial mass of 32.5 kg. The flight lasted for 80 second and reaching at the peak altitude of 36.5 km. The motor ignite for 2–3 seconds and reached the maximum velocity of 1100 meters per second. In 1965, 6 rockets of "Meteor-1" type was launched and after this time: 12 in 1966, 40 in 1967, 45 in 1968, 36 in 1969, 34 in 1970 and 4 in 1971.

The charge of metal dipoles was released by rockets and this material had later been observed on radar screens. It was the base of derivation of winds strength in the stratosphere and winds directions in the same atmospheric layer. After experiments that had been conducted in the years 1965-1966, during "The Year of the Quiet Sun", a cyclic pattern of variation in case of directions of these atmospheric flows was concluded.

Meteor-2[edit]

The one stage "Meteor-2K" was the most advanced version of the Meteor rocket. On 7 October 1970, the flight took place and reached the altitude of 90 kilometers. This rocket had been used as sounding of the ionosphere, reaching the level of boundary between D and E layers. 10 flights of this version were realized, when the measurements of temperature were made. The length of rocket frame is 4.5 meters and some are more longer than an English rocket, Petrel (in service since 1968). The "Meteor-2" had not been produced in serial way. The cost of this rocket prototype was eight times higher than for the copy of "Meteor-1". The weight of useful charge, in form of "RAMZES" recovery probe, is 10 kg.

Meteor-3[edit]

A two-stage rocket called "Meteor-3" was a developed version of "Meteor-1". The range of flight was increased and the rocket gained possibility of launching of few charges of dipoles. It can reach at ceiling altitudes between 67 and 74 kilometers. An idea of version "S" project had been considered. This model could be launch from airplane frame, about 5 kilometers above the surface.

Meteor-4[edit]

"Meteor-4" rocket has ten times more thrust than "Meteor-2". This version could reach above 100 km. According to design, this rocket is longer than 5 meters and had the initial total mass of 407 kg with useful weight of 10 kg. 175 seconds into the flight, it would reach at the altitude of 120 kilometers.

Launch Log[edit]

An incomplete list of Meteor launches

Number Date Launch site Maximum altitude (kilometres) Rocket type Remarks
1 1963 Leba 36 Meteor 1 Test flight
2 April 1965 Leba 36 Meteor 1 Aeronomy mission
3 June 15, 1965 Leba ? Meteor 1 Aeronomy mission
4 June 15, 1965 Leba ? Meteor 1 Aeronomy mission
5 June 16, 1965 Leba 36 Meteor 1 Aeronomy mission
6 April 5, 1967 Leba 36 Meteor 1 Aeronomy mission
7 April 5, 1967 Leba ? Meteor 1 Aeronomy mission
8 May 13, 1967 Leba 36 Meteor 1 Aeronomy mission
9 1968 Leba 68 Meteor 2H Test flight
10 1968? Leba 68 Meteor 2H Test flight
11 October 1968 Leba 65 Meteor 3 Aeronomy mission
12 1969? Leba 68 Meteor 2H Aeronomy mission
13 1969? Leba 68 Meteor 2H Aeronomy mission
14 1969? Leba 68 Meteor 2H Aeronomy mission
15 October 3, 1969 Leba 48 Meteor 3 Aeronomy mission
16 October 3, 1969 Leba 49 Meteor 3 Aeronomy mission
17 October 3, 1969 Leba 45 Meteor 3 Aeronomy mission
18 1970? Leba 68 Meteor 2H Test flight
19 July 10, 1970 Leba 85 Meteor 2K Aeronomy mission
20 July 10, 1970 Leba 100 Meteor 2K Test flight
21 August 22, 1970 Leba 57 Meteor 3 Aeronomy mission
22 September 2, 1970 Leba 63 Meteor 3 Aeronomy mission
23 September 7, 1970 Leba 62 Meteor 3 Aeronomy mission
24 September 9, 1970 Leba 61 Meteor 3 Aeronomy mission
25 October 7, 1970 Leba 75 Meteor 2K Aeronomy mission
26 October 7, 1970 Leba 89 Meteor 2K Aeronomy mission
27 June 11, 1973 Leba 22 Meteor 1 Aeronomy mission
28 June 12, 1973 Leba 23 Meteor 1 Aeronomy mission
29 June 14, 1973 Leba 40 Meteor 3 Aeronomy mission
30 June 15, 1973 Leba 22 Meteor 3 Aeronomy mission
31 June 15, 1973 Leba 40 Meteor 1 Aeronomy mission
32 September 15, 1973 Leba 36 Meteor 1 Aeronomy mission
33 September 16, 1973 Leba 44 Meteor 3 Aeronomy mission
34 September 17, 1973 Leba 45 Meteor 3 Aeronomy mission
35 September 18, 1973 Leba 44 Meteor 3 Aeronomy mission
36 June 6, 1974 Leba 65 Meteor 3 Aeronomy mission

External links[edit]