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MPL Capability Catalog

Mission Planning Lab

Black Brant XII

Black Brant XII


The Black Brant XII is a four-stage, solid propellant sounding rocket consisting of a Talos 1st stage, Taurus 2nd stage, Black Brant 3rd stage, and Nihka 4th stage. This vehicle is capable of lifting anywhere from 1000 lbs to a 500 km altitude to 250 lbs to approximately 1400 km. Normally, the Black Brant XII is flown in northern latitudes in the winter months where magnetic anomalies such as the Aurora Borealis are visible.

The Black Brant XII was recently used successfully in a mission launched from Poker Flat Research Range in cooperation with Dr. Marc Lessard from the University of New Hampshire. More information can be found at the Sounding Rockets Program Office (SRPO) web site.


The videos are Satellite Tool Kit (STK) representations of a Black Brant XII, one launched from Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) and one launched from Poker Flat Research Range (PFRR) in Alaska. Shown is the launch with radar and telemetry tracking, the full trajectory of the vehicle, as well as stage events and apogee. The time step of each video is 0.50 seconds.

WFF launch: w_bbxii_50.avi (102.7 Mb).
PFRR launch: bbxii_pfrr.avi (95.2 Mb).


Listed below are various screenshots from the STK scenario of a Black Brant XII. One set depicts a launch from WFF. The other set depicts a launch from PFRR.


Full Trajectory Stage Events Stage Events (additional) Alternate Full Trajectory Apogee Launch Launch (alternate view)


Full Trajectory Alternate Full Trajectory Apogee Launch Launch (alternate view)


The AGI Viewer is required in order to view a VDF file type. Using this viewer allows for user interactivity (zoom, pan and adjusting time step). Download the free AGI Viewer at (68.5 Mb).

VDF of WFF launch: w_bbxii.vdf (238 KB)

VDFs of PFRR launches:

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