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Meteor (rocket)

Meteor is a designation of a series of Polish sounding rockets. The Meteor rockets were built between 1963 and 1974.

Meteor - polish one and two stages meteorological rockets, using the solid fuel, constructed with destination for research of the top layers of terrestrial atmosphere, also directions and forces of winds from 18 to more than 50 km above the Earth surface. These rockets were designed by polish engineers of warsaw Aviation Institute (for example professor Jacek Walczewski) and had been produced by WZK-Mielec factory.


  • The History 1
  • Meteor-1 2
  • Meteor-2 3
  • Meteor-3 4

The History

The first launching site of the sounding rockets in Poland was Błędowska Desert, where since 1958 to 1963 the rockets of different types had started; among others RD and Rasko. During a one flight the biological experiment with earlier trained two white mouses was conducted (the RM-2D rocket achieved the altitude of 1580 meters).

Since 1965 to April 1970 year the Meteor-1 rockets had been launched from "spaceport" located 5 km from Ustka town. This programme had been continued to 1974, when rockets were bearing out from the area of experimental center founded there during the years of the Second World War, located on west side of Łeba town. Currently museum (the starting place with ramp and the radar bases).

There was 224 flights of all types of "Meteor-1" rocket (with prototypes). The valuable data both meteorological and connected with rocket technics were found in the result of these researches.

The "Meteor-1" and "Meteor-2H" were single-stage rockets. The Meteor 2K (the largest civilian rocket developed in Poland) was a single-stage rocket. The Meteor 3 was a two-stage rocket, developed from Meteor 1.

Meteor 1 Meteor 2H Meteor 2K Meteor 3
maximum altitude 40 km 68 km 100 km 65 km
takeoff thrust 14 kN 24 kN 52 kN 14 kN
diameter 12 cm 35 cm 35 cm 12 cm
length 2.5 m 4.5 m 4.3 m 4.3 m

Meteor rockets had been launched from Łeba and Ustka. Five Meteor rockets missions were conducted around 1970 from Zingst, in former Eastern Germany. The programme of flights of Meteor-2 was finished during the same year, when Poland started to parcitipate in Interkosmos research, using the Vertical rockets.


One stage, but two units rocket called "Meteor-1" had the length equal to 2470 mm and the initial mass equal to 32,5 kg. The duration of flight to the altitude equal to 36,5 km was eqal to 80 seconds. During the time of working engines equal to 2-3 seconds the maximal velocity of 1100 meters per second was reached. In 1965 year 6 rockets of "Meteor-1" type was launched and after this time: 12 in 1966, 40 in 1967, 45 in 1968, 36 in 1969, 34 in 1970 and 4 in 1971.

The charge of metal dipoles was released by rockets and this material had later been observed on radar screens. It was the base of derivation of winds strength in the stratosphere and winds directions in the same atmospheric layer. After experiments that had been conducted in the years 1965-1966, therefore also during "The Year of the Quiet Sun", a cyclic pattern of variation in case of directions of these atmospheric flows was concluded.


The one stage "Meteor-2K" was the most advanced version of the Meteor rocket. On 7 October 1970 the record flight took place and the altitude of 90 kilometers was reached. The rockets of this type had been used as sounding of the ionosphere, reaching the level of boundary between D and E layers. 10 flights of this version were realized, when for example measurements of temperature were made. The length of rocket frame was equal to 4,5 meters and was even some longer then for newer version of English rocket called Petrel (it had been in use since 1968). The "Meteor-2" had not been produced in serial way. The cost of this rocket prototype was eight times higher than for copy of the "Meteor-1". The weight of useful charge, in form of "RAMZES" recovery probe, was equal to 10 kg.


Two stage, but three units rocket called "Meteor-3" was developed version of "Meteor-1". The range of flight was increased and the rocket gained possibility of launching of few charges of dipoles. The ceiling for "Meteor-3" falls in range of

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