A launch vehicle or carrier rocket is a rocket designed to carry a payload (spacecraft or satellites) from the Earth's surface to outer space. Most launch vehicles operate from a launch pads, supported by a launch control center and systems such as vehicle assembly and fueling. Launch vehicles are engineered with advanced aerodynamics and technologies, which contribute to large operating costs.
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An orbital launch vehicle must lift its payload at least to the boundary of space, approximately 150 km (93 mi) and accelerate it to a horizontal velocity of at least 7,814 m/s (17,480 mph). Suborbital vehicles launch their payloads to lower velocity or are launched at elevation angles greater than horizontal.