No, we didn’t make up the word rockoons and no, it has nothing to do with raccoons. Rockoons are actually a hybrid rocket balloon and they could end up being the new way we travel to space.
The Problem With Today’s Rockets
Rockets have become much more reliable in the past few decades, but there’s still a problem with them: they use up a lot of resources. Launching any type of rocket into space requires a huge amount of fuel and a typical launch is horrible for the environment. To combat both of these issues, scientists are exploring a new type of rocket: rockoons.
Rockoons use a high-altitude weather balloon to fly a rocket just above the Earth’s atmosphere. Once there, the rocket is ignited. The advantage to launching a rocket this way is that less damage is done to the environment and less force is required to actually launch the rocket because there are fewer forces pushing against it.
Challenges Facing the Rockoons
At StratoStar, we’re all about new ways of exploring space, especially if they involve weather balloons, but there are a couple of major challenges facing rockoons. For starters, it’s not been fully tested. There have been computer tests and simulations conducted, but no one has actually attempted to launch a full-scale rockoon. The other major challenge is that launching a rocket carrying any large technology device would require an extremely large balloon. How large? The size of a football stadium. If scientists try to launch a rocket weighing only one ton, then the balloon would need to literally be as large as a football stadium.
Want to learn more about rockoons and how they work? Check out this incredible video!
Are you ready to launch your own high-altitude weather balloon to space? StratoStar can help you build a curriculum plan around an experiment and high altitude science!
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