A rocket launch is the takeoff phase of the flight of a rocket. Launches for orbital spaceflights, or launches into interplanetary space, are usually from a fixed location on the ground, but may also be from a floating platform (such as the Sea Launch vessel) or, potentially, from a superheavy An-225-class airplane.
Launches of suborbital flights (including missile launches), can also be from:
- a missile silo
- a mobile launcher vehicle
- a submarine
- air launch:
- from a plane (e.g. Scaled Composites SpaceShipOne, Pegasus Rocket, X-15)
- from a balloon (Rockoon, da Vinci Project (under development))
- a surface ship (Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System)
- an inclined rail (e.g. rocket sled launch)
Launches not into space can also be from:
A skyrocket is launched from some stand.
"Rocket launch technologies" generally refers to the entire set of systems needed to successfully launch a vehicle, not just the vehicle itself, but also the firing control systems,ground control station, launch pad, and tracking stations needed for a successful launch and/or recovery.