The first Stratos rocket was launched from Kiruna, Sweden in 2009. This two-stage, solid propellant rocket reached an altitude of 12.3km, which at the time set the European altitude record for student rocketry. Stratos II, the successor of Stratos I, was meant to fly even higher than that, but unfortunately did not lift off due to a misfire of the engine. This lead to a redesign of the rocket, namely Stratos II+. Launched in October 2015 from an INTA facility in Huelva, Spain, Stratos II+ flew to an altitude of 21.5km, breaking our own record set by Stratos I.
Recently the record was broken by the Hybrid Engine Development from Stuttgart, Germany, setting it to 32.3km. Consequently, DARE decided to combine the knowledge that was gained during the Stratos I and Stratos II projects to develop Stratos III, which was being designed to go well beyond that boundary and improve the European student altitude record. The rocket was launched on the 26th of July 2018 from INTA in Spain. 20 seconds into the flight it encountered an anomaly and the vehicle disintegrated. The Stratos III team worked incredibly hard over the past two years and while we were disappointed by the failure, the Stratos IV team recognizes the potential of the Stratos III design. The Stratos IV rocket will, therefore, be heavily based on Stratos III.