Lightning Science Enters Space Age

While East Coast Lightning Equipment brings lightning down to earth, our sister company, Scientific Lightning Solutions, reaches into space.

SLS uses rockets, for example, to trigger actual lightning strikes for research and testing. The firm is active in the aerospace industry and its team members have extensive experience designing lightning protection systems for mission-critical applications for NASA, the Air Force, and other rocket launch facilities.

SLS also provides state-of-the-art systems for lightning surveillance systems┬áto pinpoint where it strikes. In December 2016, the launch of the CYGNSS satellites was able to continue its countdown despite fierce lightning at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station just days before the scheduled deployment. Officials with NASA’s Launch Services Program were concerned that lightning would delay the mission by requiring avionic systems on the launch vehicle and payload to be tested for damage. The delay and cost of testing were avoided, however, when SLS proved that the lightning was not as close to the launch vehicle as feared, and that transient currents induced by lightning were well within acceptable limits. The system includes sensitive current and voltage sensors inside the aircraft plus exterior electromagnetic sensors to measure the effects of nearby lightning. SLS also monitored the Cape Canaveral airstrip with two of the firm’s Optical Jupiter high-speed, zero dead-time cameras that are triggered by lightning strikes.

To read more about how lightning safety came to the aid of CYGNSS, see article here.