Watch: Russian Rocket Struck By Lightning During Launch

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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 Director General Dmitry Rogozin wrote on Twitter while celebrating the launch: “Lightning is not an obstacle for you!”

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

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.”


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