CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Afternoon thunderstorms caused quite the sight on Saturday afternoon at the Kennedy Space Center when lightning struck the launch complex being used for the dress rehearsal for the Artemis I rocket.
Cameras captured the exact moment the bolt hit what NASA says was one of its 600-foot-tall lightning protection towers around the launch site.
Crews have since been assessing any impacts the weather may have caused to the rocket or the rehearsal.
Thunderstorms are common along Florida’s Space Coast, and for that reason, the space center has a complex lightning protection system devoted to keeping rockets safe from strikes.
The Artemis I wet dress rehearsal began on Friday afternoon and is expected to conclude on Sunday with a countdown that will end seconds before the rocket’s ignition.
The combined Space Launch System Rocket and Orion capsule spacecraft stand 322 feet tall and were rolled out to the launch site on March 18.
After final assessments were made, the launch director and mission management team chair gave the "go" to begin fueling up the rocket on the launchpad early Sunday morning.
Now, more than 700,000 gallons of propellants are being loaded into the rocket.
After the wet dress rehearsal, the rocket will be rolled back to the Vehicle Assembly Building for preparations for a future launch.
The Artemis program is expected to send astronauts back to the moon no earlier than 2025.