The Mesquito is a new sounding rocket
Sounding rocket
A sounding rocket, sometimes called a research rocket, is an instrument-carrying rocket designed to take measurements and perform scientific experiments during its sub-orbital flight. The origin of the term comes from nautical vocabulary, where to sound is to throw a weighted line from a ship into...

 vehicle developed for the NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 Sounding Rocket Program on Wallops Island
Wallops Island
Wallops Island is a island off the east coast of Virginia, part of the barrier islands that stretch along the eastern seaboard of the United States of America.It is located in Accomack County, Virginia...

, Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

. The "skeeter" (from similarity of name to mosquito
Mosquitoes are members of a family of nematocerid flies: the Culicidae . The word Mosquito is from the Spanish and Portuguese for little fly...

) was developed to provide rocket-borne measurements of the mesospheric region of the upper atmosphere. An area of great science interest is in the 82–95 km region, where the conventional understanding of atmospherics physics is being challenged.

The skeeter is a two-stage sounding rocket using a 9 inches (228.6 mm) solid propellant rocket motor as the first-stage propulsion device. The non-propulsive second-stage dart contains a free-flying structural body that includes an avionics suite and an experiment space with interface.

NASA Sounding Rocket Operations Contract (NSROC) engineers and technicians are the developers and designers of the sounding rocket. The maiden flight occurred on 6 May 2008, from LC-2 at the Wallops Flight Facility
Wallops Flight Facility
Wallops Flight Facility , located on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, is operated by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, primarily as a rocket launch site to support science and exploration missions for NASA and other U.S. government agencies...


Launch history

Date Time (GMT) S/N Mission Outcome Remarks
2008-05-06 18:00-20:00 12.065 Test Success Maiden flight
2008-05-07 18:00-20:00 12.066 Test Failure Loss of control following burnout
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