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University of Alabama Huntsville Scientists Help JAXA Avoid Strikes During Rocket Launches

Scientists from the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) are supporting the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to develop rules for launching spacecraft during cloudy or stormy conditions. The JAXA currently implements NASA restrictions regarding threatening conditions to prevent a lightning strike to the spacecraft during launch. In 1969 NASA’s Apollo 12 rocket was struck during launch and without the quick thinking of the Apollo crew, the flight probably would have been aborted (see video here: NASA Apollo 12 Lightning Strike Video). The Japanese weather patterns are considerably different from those in Florida and when the JAXA uses the NASA rules, many days are lost when rockets could possibly be launched from the JAXA facility. JAXA recently purchased an instrumented Cessna Citation jet to study the electrification of clouds over Japan. The UAH scientist will assist Japanese scientist as they fly the instrumented aircraft through cloud formations to determine the amount of electrification within the clouds. From these measurements, the JAXA will create a set of launch rules that help minimize lost launch opportunities. See the full news report here:...

New Video: ANA 767 Radome Damaged by Lightning

This new video from Japan shows the landing and subsequent replacement of an ANA 767-300 nose radome after it was struck by lightning. From the video it appears that lightning delaminated the side of the radome. It also looks like the lightning strike did not attach to the radome’s metal bar diverters but grabbed the aft edge of the radome. The radome was later replaced and the aircraft...

Little Rock Flight Struck Twice, Hail Cracks Windscreen

A Frontier Airlines aircraft encountered severe weather on a flight from Little Rock, AR to Denver, CO. Reports indicate that the aircraft was struck twice by lightning and hail cracked one of the cockpit windscreens. The flight landed safely in Kansas City where passengers headed to the nearest pub. See news of the flight here:...