ISRO Missions and Discoveries

Rohini RH-200: ISRO eyeing 200th successful launch of Rohini RH-200


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Rohini

Mains level: Not Much


In a few weeks’ time, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) hopes to achieve a remarkable feat — the 200th successful launch of the Rohini RH-200 sounding rocket in a row.

Rohini RH-200

  • RH-200 is a two-stage rocket capable of climbing to a height of 70 km bearing scientific payloads.
  • The first and second stages of RH-200 are powered by solid motors. The ‘200’ in the name denotes the diameter of the rocket in mm.
  • Other operational Rohini variants are RH-300 Mk-II and RH-560 Mk-III.
  • For years, the RH-200 rocket had used a polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-based propellant.
  • The first RH-200 to use a new propellant based on hydroxyl-terminated Polybutadiene (HTPB) was successfully flown from the TERLS in September 2020.
  • The first and second stages of RH200 rocket are powered by solid motors.
  • Since inception of RH200 rocket, both solid stages are processed using polyvinyl chloride (PVC) based propellant.
  • As compared to PVC based propellants, HTPB based propellant is more energetic, higher mechanical & interface properties and has less defects due to lower processing temperature.

What basically is a Sounding Rocket?

  • A sounding rocket is an instrument-carrying rocket designed to take measurements and perform scientific experiments during its sub-orbital flight.
  • The rockets are used to launch instruments from 48 to 145 km above the surface of the Earth, the altitude generally between weather balloons and satellites.
  • The maximum altitude for balloons is about 40 km and the minimum for satellites is approximately 121 km.

History of sounding rockets in India

  • Sounding rockets have an important place in the ISRO story.
  • The first sounding rocket to be launched from Thumba was the American Nike-Apache — on November 21, 1963.
  • After that, two-stage rockets imported from Russia (M-100) and France (Centaure) were flown. The ISRO launched its own version — Rohini RH-75 — in 1967.
  • The ISRO has launched more than 1,600 RH-200 rockets so far.
  • Currently, the RH200, RH300 MkII and RH560 Mk-III rockets are operational which were developed during the early phase of our journey in rocketry.


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