The Lightning Triggering: A Technique for Active Protection of a Site

Authors

  • Paul Perroud Commissariat a l’Energie Atomique Centre d’Etudes Nucleaires de Grenoble
  • Andre Eybert-Berard Commissariat a l’Energie Atomique Centre d’Etudes Nucleaires de Grenoble

Abstract

The technique of lightning triggering that we have developed is well mastered after numerous campaigns in France and in USA. It consists mainly of firing a small rocket carrying a thin metallic wire from the ground toward a thundercloud when the electrostatic field rises above the critical value (4 to 7 kV/m). The chances of success reach 94% under favorable conditions. This is why it is now possible to conceive the utilization of this means of lightning control for an active protection of important installations such as spacecraft launching sites. The aim is to drive electricity generated within storm clouds to the ground through artificial lightning. Analysis of the feasibility of this technique is given. For a thunderstorm of 40 minutes duration, a total of 120 rockets is found necessary for efficient protection. The Lightning Rocket System (LRS) technique can also be used to test electrical stability of the atmosphere before a missile launch in order to avoid the accident which happened to Apollo 12 in 1969.

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Scientific Papers