Frequently asked questions

What is Max Q?

Max Q is where a launch vehicle’s atmospheric flight reaches maximum dynamic pressure and you will hear this being referenced as part of the launch sequence. Max Q is an important milestone during a launch, as it is the point at which the airframe undergoes maximum mechanical stress.

What is Futuria Liquid Gas (previously BioLPG)?

It’s a sustainable form of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas). It's made from a blend of waste, residues and sustainably sourced materials. It can be used as a replacement for LPG offering the same performance and a lower carbon footprint.

What is a rocket launch site or spaceport?

A rocket launch site or spaceport is a facility that has been created to launch spacecraft into orbit around the Earth. The facility normally includes one or more launch pads, control centre and associated infrastructure for the transport and preparation of launch vehicles. The locations are chosen because of the access they provide to orbits, the flight areas don't incorporate populated zones and they offer suitable weather to support launches.

What is vertical launch and why do rockets use this method?

Vertical launch is the most common method of launching a rocket, taking place from a dedicated launch site or spaceport. Rockets are launched vertically for a number of reasons: they are at their heaviest at launch and most can't support their own weight unless they are standing upright. This method also offers the fastest route out of the thicker, lower part of the atmosphere which is essential to preserve speed and fuel during the journey.

What is a sun-synchronous orbit?

A sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) is a specific kind of polar orbit. Satellites in SSO, travelling over the polar regions, are synchronous with the Sun. This means they are synchronised to always be in the same 'fixed' position relative to the Sun.

What is a payload?

A payload is the object carried by an aircraft or launch vehicle. Sometimes payload also refers to the carrying capacity of an aircraft or launch vehicle, usually measured in terms of weight. For a rocket, the payload can be a satellite, space probe, or spacecraft carrying humans or cargo.

What does LEO (low earth orbit) mean?

A low Earth orbit (LEO) is an orbit that is relatively close to Earth’s surface. It is normally at an altitude of less than 1000 km but could be as low as 160 km above Earth – which is low compared to other orbits, but still very far above Earth’s surface.

What is an azimuth?

An azimuth is an angular measurement in a spherical coordinate system. The vector from an observer to a point of interest is projected perpendicularly onto a reference plane; the angle between the projected vector and a reference vector on the reference plane is called the azimuth.

What is an apogee?

An apogee is the point in the orbit of an object (such as a satellite) orbiting the earth that is at the greatest distance from the centre of the earth.

What is a perigee?

A perigee is the point in the orbit of the moon or a satellite at which it is nearest to the earth.

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