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Launch of S-310-31 and 32

Due to a typhoon, the preparations for the launch of S-310-31 and 32 were delayed 3 days later than the scheduled time, but finally started on July 30. The purpose of launching these two rockets was to elucidate the structure and generation mechanism of quasi-periodic echo produced by a sporadic E layer. There were three strict launch requirements for these rockets: quasi-periodic echo had been detected by a radar installed in Tanegashima; the weather at two of the camera-installed sites for observation of TMA lightning clouds (Uchinoura, Nishinoomote in Tanegashima, Takasaki in Miyazaki, and Hata in Kochi) had to be clear; and there should be no moonlight. Although we were blessed with fine weather, the very quasi-periodic echo did not appear and we had to postpone the launch for 5 days. However, on August 3, a big and beautiful quasi-echo, which lasted over 1 hour, was finally observed, and two rockets were launched as planned after 15 minutes’ interval at 23:24 (310-31) and 23:39 (-32). All onboard instruments performed normally and the lightning clouds generated by the emission of TMA were also observed for 30 minutes after launch. Valuable data for the elucidation of the structure and generation mechanism of quasi-periodic echo were obtained, and we are now looking forward to the results of data analysis.

October 16, 2002