D region observations by VHF and HF radars during a rocket campaign at Andøya dedicated to investigations of PMWE
In April 2018 the PMWE1 sounding rocket campaign was conducted at the Andøya Space Center involving coordinated measurements with rockets and ground instruments to measure parameters relevant for testing of the existing theories of polar mesospheric winter echo (PMWE) formation. The Middle Atmosphere Alomar Radar System (MAARSY) was operated to detect PMWE with multiple beam directions to detect favorable launch conditions. A dedicated experiment configuration with five different beam positions was used to point the radar beam along the planned trajectory of the payload. This special radar experiment allowed to obtain basic information about the spatial structure of the PMWE and its dynamical behavior around the flight of the two rockets. PMWE with signal strengths between 10−17 and 10−15 m−1 have been observed by MAARSY during the whole campaign period, starting with a moderate occurrence at the beginning which decreased towards the end of the campaign. Furthermore real common-volume observations by rocket instruments and radar soundings have been carried out at PMWE altitudes on up-leg and down-leg of the rocket flights. The Saura MF radar was operated during both flights probing the mesosphere with a multiple beam scan experiment to derive horizontal winds and electron density profiles. The obtained PMWE characteristics as signal strength and spectral width of the received radar signals as well as estimated horizontal winds and electron densities are presented with particular emphasis to the launch times of the sounding rockets.