Ionospheric shock waves triggered by rockets
Abstract. This paper presents a two-dimensional structure of the shock wave signatures in ionospheric electron density resulting from a rocket transit using the rate of change of the total electron content (TEC) derived from ground-based GPS receivers around Japan and Taiwan for the first time. From the TEC maps constructed for the 2009 North Korea (NK) Taepodong-2 and 2013 South Korea (SK) Korea Space Launch Vehicle-II (KSLV-II) rocket launches, features of the V-shaped shock wave fronts in TEC perturbations are prominently seen. These fronts, with periods of 100–600 s, produced by the propulsive blasts of the rockets appear immediately and then propagate perpendicularly outward from the rocket trajectory with supersonic velocities between 800–1200 m s−1 for both events. Additionally, clear rocket exhaust depletions of TECs are seen along the trajectory and are deflected by the background thermospheric neutral wind. Twenty minutes after the rocket transits, delayed electron density perturbation waves propagating along the bow wave direction appear with phase velocities of 800–1200 m s−1. According to their propagation character, these delayed waves may be generated by rocket exhaust plumes at earlier rocket locations at lower altitudes.