It Is Rocket Science -- Remarkable Discoveries from NASA's Sounding Rocket Program


  • For over five decades, NASA's Sounding Rocket Program has provided a steady stream of scientific and technological advancement to support research objectives of NASA's Science Mission Directorate. Sounding rocket missions continue to enable major discoveries about the earth's space environment, as well as fundamental new observations about the sun, stars, and other celestial objects. The ability to carry out these missions enables numerous research teams around the country to remain at the cutting edge of progress in the field and helps explain why NASA's Sounding Rocket Program is the envy of the world for carrying out focused, low-cost space research. Recent sounding rocket missions have: (1) directly measured X-ray emission from the solar wind colliding with gravitationally focused interstellar helium, (2) gathered the highest resolution ever EUV images of the solar corona, revealing how braided magnetic fields release energy, and (3) explored the source of violent wind streams and turbulence in the upper atmosphere near 100 km altitude that are believed to transport mass on a global scale. In this presentation, an overview of NASA's Sounding Rocket Program will be provided with an emphasis on recent scientific achievements in the fields of astronomy/planetary, solar, and geospace research.