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A launch is the first part of the flight of a rocket when it leaves the ground for orbital spaceflights, or into interplanetary space.

Launch in the aerospace context refers to the process of propelling a spacecraft or rocket from the surface of the Earth into space or to a specific orbit. This process involves the use of a launch vehicle, which can be a rocket, a ballistic missile, or other propulsion systems, to lift the spacecraft or payload into space.

Examples of types of launch include:

  • Orbital launch: This type of launch is used to place a spacecraft or payload into a specific orbit around the Earth or another celestial body.
  • Suborbital launch: This type of launch is used to propel a spacecraft or payload to an altitude above the Earth's atmosphere but not into orbit.
  • Escape launch: This type of launch is used to propel a spacecraft or payload out of the gravitational pull of the Earth or another celestial body.
  • Air-launch: This type of launch, a vehicle such as an airplane carries a rocket or spacecraft to a high altitude before releasing it to begin its powered flight.

Examples of launch vehicles include:

  • The SpaceX Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets
  • The United Launch Alliance Atlas V and Delta IV rockets
  • The Blue Origin New Shepard rocket
  • The Arianespace Ariane 5 and Vega rockets
  • The Russian Soyuz rockets
  • The Chinese Long March rockets

Examples of organizations involved in launches include NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos), private aerospace companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin, and commercial launch providers such as Arianespace.

Nearly every day a launch can be seen somewhere on Earth. Have a look into our calendar.

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