A ballistic missile ( CBM / ICBM) is a type of missile that uses projectile motion to deliver warheads on a target. These weapons are powered only during relatively brief periods—most of the flight is unpowered. Short-range ballistic missiles stay within the Earth's atmosphere, while intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) are launched on a sub-orbital flight.
These weapons are in a distinct category from cruise missiles, which are aerodynamically guided in powered flight. Unlike cruise missiles, which are restricted to the atmosphere, it is advantageous for ballistic missiles to avoid the denser parts of the atmosphere and they may travel above the atmosphere into outer space.

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