Watch Lightning Strike A Rocket As It Launches

The first launch this year of a Roscosmos Soyuz 2-1b rocket from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia went off without a hitch. Yes, even despite \a bolt of lightning that struck the booster as it made its ascent.

On Monday, Russian space agency Roscosmos launched a Soyuz 2-1b rocket from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, a spaceport about 800 kilometers (497 miles) north of Moscow. About 10 seconds later, a massive bolt of lightning struck the spacecraft — a remarkable sight captured on video by numerous spectators.

The lightning strike might look dramatic, but it had no impact on the mission — the rocket spent the next 3.5 hours making its way into low-Earth orbit, where it delivered a Glonass-M navigation satellite into orbit.

“Lightning is not an obstacle to you,” tweeted Roscosmos director Dmitry Rogozin alongside a video of the lightning strike.

This isn’t the first time lightning has struck an ascending rocket — famously, lightning struck one of NASA’s Saturn V rockets during the 1969 launch of the crewed Apollo 12 mission not once, but twice.

Thankfully, the people designing these rockets understand that sending a massive hunk of metal into the sky might attract lightning, and so they build the craft accordingly.

“The weather is not an obstacle and we [the Space Force of Russia’s Aerospace Forces] are all-weather troops,” Plesetsk Cosmodrome chief Nikolai Nestechuk told Russian news agency TASS. “This is yet another proof that lightning cannot damage our aerospace weapons.”

Comments