Petrel (rocket)
The Petrel was a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 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...

. The Petrel 1 was launched, like the Skua
Skua (rocket)
Skua is the designation of a British sounding rocket which was launched between 1959 and 1981 in 4 versions over 300 times. The Skua was developed by Bristol Aerojet and RPE Wescott. It consisted of a starting stage made up of several Chick rockets that burned for 0.2 seconds. They propelled the...

 1, with 3 Chick booster rockets. The Chick motors were fitted in a Booster Carriage that also carried the two parachutes that brought it back to earth for re-use. The Petrel 1 was 3.34 m long, had a diameter of 19 cm and reached a maximum altitude of 140 kilometers. It was fired from a barrel launcher approximately 60 ft (18.3 m).

The Petrel was first flown on June 8, 1967 in South Uist
South Uist
South Uist is an island of the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. In the 2001 census it had a usually resident population of 1,818. There is a nature reserve and a number of sites of archaeological interest, including the only location in Great Britain where prehistoric mummies have been found. The...

. In 1977 an improved version (the Petrel 2) with a maximum height of 175 kilometers was used for the first time. The Petrel was also fired from ESRANGE at Kiruna in Sweden in 1971, and from the range on Andoya, an island off the Norwegian coast in 1973. One launcher was installed at Kiruna, while two were installed on Andoya. Both could be loaded but only one was elevated at a time. Two launchers allowed successive firings, one as an event came up and another as it decayed.

To facilitate one experiment a Petrel payload released gas clouds at apogee. The wife of one of the firing team reported that strange lights were reported as being seen in the night sky from Scotland.

Petrel 1

  • payload: 18 kg
  • maximum altitude
    Altitude or height is defined based on the context in which it is used . As a general definition, altitude is a distance measurement, usually in the vertical or "up" direction, between a reference datum and a point or object. The reference datum also often varies according to the context...

    : 140 km
  • launch thrust
    Thrust is a reaction force described quantitatively by Newton's second and third laws. When a system expels or accelerates mass in one direction the accelerated mass will cause a force of equal magnitude but opposite direction on that system....

    : 20 kN
  • launch weight
    In science and engineering, the weight of an object is the force on the object due to gravity. Its magnitude , often denoted by an italic letter W, is the product of the mass m of the object and the magnitude of the local gravitational acceleration g; thus:...

    : 130 kg
  • diameter: 0.19 m
  • length: 3.34 m

Petrel 2

  • payload: 18 kg
  • maximum altitude: 175 km
  • takeoff thrust: 27 kN
  • takeoff weight: 160 kg
  • diameter: 0.19 m
  • length: 3.70 m

External links

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