Incredible images show lightning hitting Russian rocket during the launch

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Incredible images show a Russian Soyuz rocket will be hit with a lightning bolt for 10 seconds in its flight.

The lightning hit the rocket on its nose and cockpit, as well as the third stage booster segment, according to the Daily Mail, which cited that the spacecraft has on board the instruments.


Despite the fearsome appearance, the Russian Ministry of Defence said that the spacecraft was functioning normally and was the continuation of her trek to a low orbit around the Earth, where it is delivered to a navigation satellite.

Soyuz rocket struck by lightning. (Credit: East2West)

“Stable telemetric connection is made and maintained with the spacecraft,” the government agency wrote in a message. “The on-board systems of the Glonass-M spacecraft are functioning normally.”

Dmitry Rogozin, the Director-General of Roscosmos, posted a video of the strike on Twitter and even said not “[l]ightning is not an obstacle for you,” according to a translated version of the tweet.

Although the image of the Roscosmos Soyuz 2-1b rocket, which took off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on May 27, hit may be surprising for some, it is not an uncommon occurrence.

LiveScience reports that aircraft routinely get hit by lightning and the Apollo 12 mission’s Saturn V rocket was struck by a bolt of lightning in November 1969.

According to a 1970’s NASA research, the Apollo 12 vehicle two times, was hit by lightning during the launch, but once, at 36.5 seconds and 52 seconds.


“As a result, many temporary effects were noted in both the launch vehicle and spacecraft,” the report said. “Some of the permanent effects were noted in the spacecraft, and involved the loss of nine non-essential instrumentation sensors. All noted effects were associated with the solid-state circuits, which are the most sensitive to the effects of a discharge.”

The report added that the lightning “can be caused by the presence of the long electrical length created by the space vehicle and its exhaust plume in an electric field that otherwise would not have produced natural lightning.”

A few tools were knocked offline, including fuel cells, displays and telemetry, however, a number of innovative thinking of the flight controller John Aaron and astronaut Alan Bean, saved the mission, according to Science Alert.

Today NASA has stringent weather conditions guidelines for the start. If there is a chance of lightning within 5 miles of the launch pad, NASA will have to postpone a launch of the space agency said on its website.

All the space agencies around the world also have lightning protection built into spacecraft, as well as their launch pads.


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