Victor Tangermann
It's Electric

Watch Lightning Strike a Rocket as It Launches

byKristin Houser
5. 28. 19
Victor Tangermann

Okay, this is pretty epic.

Ride the Lightning

In Russia, a little lightning isn’t enough to stop a rocket from completing its mission.

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.

Mission: Still Possible

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.


Rocket Science

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.”

READ MORE: Wild Footage Shows Lightning Strike Russia’s Soyuz Rocket Mid-Launch [Science Alert]


More on Roscosmos: Expert: SpaceX Just Made Russia’s Space Program “Null and Void”

Care about supporting clean energy adoption? Find out how much money (and planet!) you could save by switching to solar power at By signing up through this link, may receive a small commission.

Share This Article

Copyright ©, Camden Media Inc All Rights Reserved. See our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Data Use Policy. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Futurism. Fonts by Typekit and Monotype.