Space News
space history and artifacts articles

space history discussion forums

worldwide astronaut appearances

selected space history documents

Debris Fragment

Mission: Atlas-Centaur 67  
Launch: March 26, 1987  
Landing: N/A (destroyed 54 seconds after launch)  
Comment: Second launch vehicle in history to be struck
by lightning during flight

This metal fragment was collected from the debris of an Atlas-Centaur unmanned rocket that was carrying a Naval communications satellite when it was struck by lightning four times. The surge of electricity scrambled data in its guidance computer, resulting in an erroneous command to tilt its the thrusters to the maximum. This extreme action destroyed the rocket as the vehicle broke apart mid-flight.

back to Artifacts

back to collectSPACE

© 2020 All rights reserved.
Questions? E-mail