An ONERA team of specialists in electromagnetic compatibility gathered in Kourou in April 2011 to qualify the Soyuz launch site in regard to lightning protection
The group of 4 towers intended for the protection of the launch site against lightning
Once the site construction was finished, experimental measurements, based on loading the protection system by injecting strong lightning wave type currents, were made by ONERA. By bringing to light anomalies or badly protected areas, the measurements obtained helped to bring the site into compliance.
These tests were also an opportunity to test a new capacitive discharge generator made by ONERA, as well as an innovative remote current measurement technique based on the use of local digitisers installed in close proximity to the measuring sensors, the data being transmitted by optical fibre.
At the time of the Soyuz launch, the ONERA team will be present on the launch pad of the Vega small-launcher, whose first commercial launch is planned for 2012
A first analysis, purely numerical and based on site drawings, was carried out in 2006 to aid in the definition and optimisation of the lightning protection system (a group of four interconnected towers).
Magnetic field mapping in the launcher area in the event of impact on one of the towers and representation of the meshing used for the simulation of electromagnetic fields and currents following a lightning strike