A Russian Soyuz rocket was struck by a bolt of lightning during a launch on Monday, but the strike didn’t hinder the rocket’s course and the launch was completed successfully. The rocket reached orbit without issue, according to Russian space officials. The strike, did, however, result in stunning video, captured from numerous angles and posted to YouTube.
The strike occurred during the launch from Russia’s Plesetsk Cosmodrome, about 500 miles north of Moscow.
Roscosmos used a Soyuz 2.1b booster equipped with a Fregat upper stage to launch Glonass-M, the latest in a series of navigation satellites to support Russia’s military and civilian customers, according to Space.com.
Поздравляем командование Космических войск, боевой расчёт космодрома Плесецк, коллективы РКЦ “Прогресс” (Самара), НПО имени С.А.Лавочкина (Химки) и ИСС имени академика М.Ф.Решетнёва (Железногорск) с успешным запуском КА ГЛОНАСС!
Молния вам не помеха pic.twitter.com/1cmlZ4hD1g
— Дмитрий Рогозин (@Rogozin) May 27, 2019
Russia’s Ministry of Defense wrote in an update: “A stable telemetric connection is established and maintained with the spacecraft. The on-board systems of the Glonass-M spacecraft are functioning normally.”
While rare, it isn’t the first time such a strike has occurred. In 1969, lightning struck a Saturn V rocket twice during the launch of NASA’s Apollo 12 mission to the moon.
Analysis of the Apollo 12 strike showed that “lightning can be triggered by the presence of the long electrical length created by the space vehicle and its exhaust plume in an electric field which would not otherwise have produced natural lightning,” according to a NASA report.
Russia’s General Major Nikolai Nesterchuk told RT, “The weather is not a hindrance, we are an all-weather troop.”