Lightning Rod From Apollo 12 Launch Tower
Strikes The Launch Tower During Apollo 12
|This artifact is a
section of the lightning rod from the Apollo 12
launch tower. Shortly after the liftoff of
Apollo 12, lightning struck the rocket.
The lightning bolt continued down to the launch
tower completing the circuit through the
lightning rod from which this section was cut.
It was only through a quick reactions by the
ground and astronauts that the Apollo 12 mission
was saved. It was a miraculous recovery.
The lighting rod section is mounted to a wooden
plaque. The plaque was presented to Don E.
Phillips. A brass plate on the plaque is
E. Phillips / Chief Test Supervisor / A
Memento From The Apollo 12 Launch / SHAZAM!!"
This artifact was consigned for auction on
eBay. The description from that auction
stated, "At 36 seconds
into the flight of Apollo 12, a stroke of
lightning struck the spacecraft, proceeding
down through the launch vehicle and down to
the mobile launcher.
Pete Conrad reported " We just lost the
platform. I don't know what happened here.
We had everything in the world drop
out-------". A quick thinking JSC flight
controller made a suggestion which Al Bean
performed to return order to the spacecraft
and the flight continued to be highly
It was later theorized that the 363 foot
long vehicle plus its long flaming tail
became a lightning rod which triggered
static electricity in the clouds.
After the launch, the copper lightning mast
that was atop the mobile launcher was cut
into pieces and given to a very small number
of key launch personnel as a memento. A five
inch long segment of the rod is attached to
this plaque given to one of those key NASA
launch persons. This item is truly very
The Earth To The Moon Air & Space
Museum acquired this artifact from the eBay
auction on March 25, 2000.