Articles | Volume 35, issue 3
Ann. Geophys., 35, 413–422, 2017

Special issue: The 14th International Symposium on Equatorial Aeronomy

Ann. Geophys., 35, 413–422, 2017

Regular paper 16 Mar 2017

Regular paper | 16 Mar 2017

Rocket in situ observation of equatorial plasma irregularities in the region between E and F layers over Brazil

Siomel Savio Odriozola1,2, Francisco Carlos de Meneses Jr.1,3, Polinaya Muralikrishna1, Alexandre Alvares Pimenta1, and Esfhan Alam Kherani1 Siomel Savio Odriozola et al.
  • 1National Institute for Space Research – INPE, Av. dos Astronautas, 1758, Jd. Granja-CEP: 12227-010 SJC, SP, Brazil
  • 2Department of Space Geophysics, Institute of Geophysics and Astronomy – IGA, Calle 212, 2906, La Coronela, La Lisa, Havana, Cuba
  • 3State Key Laboratory of Space Weather, National Space Science Center NSSC, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), No. 1 Nanertiao, Zhongguancun, Haidian district, 100190, Beijing, China

Abstract. A two-stage VS-30 Orion rocket was launched from the equatorial rocket launching station in Alcântara, Brazil, on 8 December 2012 soon after sunset (19:00 LT), carrying a Langmuir probe operating alternately in swept and constant bias modes. At the time of launch, ground equipment operated at equatorial stations showed rapid rise in the base of the F layer, indicating the pre-reversal enhancement of the F region vertical drift and creating ionospheric conditions favorable for the generation of plasma bubbles. Vertical profiles of electron density estimated from Langmuir probe data showed wave patterns and small- and medium-scale plasma irregularities in the valley region (100–300 km) during the rocket upleg and downleg. These irregularities resemble those detected by the very high frequency (VHF) radar installed at Jicamarca and so-called equatorial quasi-periodic echoes. We present evidence suggesting that these observations could be the first detection of this type of irregularity made by instruments onboard a rocket.

Short summary
In this paper we report several ionospheric plasma irregularities detected by an instrument (Langmuir probe) installed as a rocket payload that flew over the equatorial region of Brazil. The results of our measurements were compared with measurements made on a different date and by another instrument (radar) located under the magnetic equator in Peru. Our comparison suggests that the rocket intercepted the same type of irregularity previously detected in Peru.