Shortly after Roscosmos Soyuz 2-1b rocket took off, the lightning bolt was observed and measured by the spacecraft’s instruments, reported the media outlet.
“During the liftoff, lightning struck the nose fairing and the third stage of the carrier rocket, which was recorded by telemetric data transmitted from the rocket to the ground-based control center,” reported the Russian News Agency TASS.
A video of the launch and the lightning hitting the rocket was shared by Dmitry Rogozin, the Director of Roscosmos on Twitter.
Rogozin congratulated the Russian space scientists, saying, “Lightning is not an obstacle for you.”
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
The rocket subsequently continued its three-and-a-half-hour journey into Earth’s low-orbit and placed the satellite into orbit at the designated time.
“The launch was carried out in the normal mode. The weather is not an obstacle and we [the Space Force of Russia’s Aerospace Forces] are all-weather troops. This is yet another proof that lightning cannot damage our aerospace weapons,” the spaceport’s chief said, according to TASS.
— John B Tawn (@27Tawnyowl) May 29, 2019
The space scientists at the Titov Main Testing Space Center of the Aerospace Forces’ Space Force have taken control of the space vehicle.
“A stable telemetric connection [was] established and maintained with the spacecraft,” the Russian Ministry of Defense stated after the incident, according to the Daily Mail.
“The onboard systems of the GLONASS-M spacecraft are functioning normally,” the Ministry said.
Lightning Hits Same Location 11 Times
In another incident, a strong storm with heavy rain hit Southeast Texas on May 9 and caused a lightning bolt to strike the same place 11 times in 8 seconds.
The lightning was captured in a video by KHOU 11 reporter Brett Buffington, and since then it has gone viral with over 857,000 views on Facebook.
The “incredible lightning over Wallert and Fort Bend County in Texas” looked like a high-tension electrical wire connecting the sky to Earth.
“SAME LIGHTNING BOLT STRIKES 11 TIMES! A stormy night in Houston. Watch as this lightning bolt hits over and over again in the same spot for several seconds. This was part of the storms passing through Fort Bend and Waller Counties,” said the Facebook post.
WOW: Lightning bolts slashed through the sky overnight in Houston as storms moved through Southeast Texas. pic.twitter.com/4O7j7hl2AT
— KUTV 2News (@KUTV2News) May 10, 2019
The unbelievable bolt struck a chord with people’s imaginations. “Imagine the bad luck you would have of being struck by lightning once … then imagine if you happened to be getting hit by that bolt 11 times,” Jonothan Carroll commented on the post.
“This is the power of Thor,” wrote another user, Daniel Medina.
“How do y’all catch these photos? I never see anything cool in my backyard except Stray cats,” said Erica Avila.
Some users linked the phenomenon to aliens. “Has anyone else seen War of the Worlds? That’s no lightning. It’s aliens teleporting to earth,” said Erick Edwardo Segura.
“It’s an alien ship charging up,” said David Brown.
There were no reports or injuries resulting from the bad weather on Thursday, according to KHOU 11.