In spaceflight, a launch vehicle or carrier rocket is a rocket used to carry a payload from the Earth's surface into outer space. A launch system includes the launch vehicle, the launch pad and other infrastructure. Usually the payload is an artificial satellite placed into orbit, but some spaceflights are sub-orbital while others enable spacecraft to escape Earth orbit entirely. A launch vehicle which carries its payload on a suborbital trajectory is often called a sounding rocket.
Launch vehicles, particularly orbital launch vehicles, have at least two stages, but sometimes up to 4 are employed.
Famous quotes containing the words launch and/or vehicle:
“Now launch the small ship, now as the body dies
and life departs, launch out, the fragile soul
in the fragile ship of courage, the ark of faith
with its store of food and little cooking pans
and change of clothes,”
—D.H. (David Herbert)
“Language is an archeological vehicle ... the language we speak is a whole palimpsest of human effort and history.”
—Russell Hoban (b. 1925)