A review of engineering and research data requirements for altitudes 30–100 km is made, indicating a variety of concrete data applications above 30 km (10 mb). The required data have in large measure been provided from meteorological rocket soundings, of which 18,000 have been taken, at considerable cost, since 1959. Remote vertical soundings based on satellite infrared radiation measurements have been obtained since 1969 with considerable success to an altitude of 25 km (30 mb). From developmental work in progress, it is expected that reliable temperature soundings may be obtained to 40–45 km. A discussion of the overall reliability and utility of the satellite data leads to several conclusions regarding the continuing need for rocket soundings.
1 This article was prepared as a basis for a briefing to the Director for Space, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.