Russia's Flawed Intercontinental Missile Test Lights Up Norway's Sky

By Brett Israel | December 10, 2009 6:15 pm

norway-spiralAs DISCOVER’s Bad Astronomer reported, Norwegians spotted some seriously strange lights in the night sky early yesterday morning. Since it appeared to be a real phenomenon (as opposed to a Photoshopped delight) and as there was no indication that the little green men had finally come, astronomers and aviation experts immediately began investigating what could have caused such a light show. The Bad Astronomer suggested that it looked like a rocket spinning out of control, and a day later he was proven right.

It turns out the bizarre fireworks display was caused by a missile test that originated in Russia, however the heralded Bulava missile turned out to be a dud–again. The submarine-based Bulava (Mace) missile has been billed as Russia’s newest technological breakthrough to support its nuclear deterrent, but the repeated test failures are an embarrassment for the Kremlin [Reuters].

According to Russian newspapers, it was the eighth failed test for the intercontinental missile, which is intended to carry multiple nuclear warheads. Sources within Russia’s defense ministry later owned up to the failure, saying the launch was made by a nuclear submarine positioned in the White Sea. There was a technical malfunction during the third stage of the missile’s trajectory that caused it to spin out of control, according to a defense ministry spokesperson.

Although some people may have been disappointed to realize that a UFO loaded with aliens was not descending upon Norway (perhaps to congratulate President Obama for his Nobel Peace prize), the light show was nonetheless spectacular. Several videos on YouTube show what some say looks like a spiral galaxy. Experts are saying that rockets often start spiraling on their own during partial engine failure. And the fact that the first two stages worked as the powerful missile hurtled skyward meant it should have been high in the atmosphere before the problem occurred, leaving a spiral of exhaust that would have been illuminated by the lights of Norway before the missile exploded [Christian Science Monitor]. Despite the multiple failures of the Bulava missiles Russia doesn’t plan to scrap the program anytime soon; it has invested a significant amount of money into the program, which was supposed to replace the old Soviet-era nuclear missiles.

Related Content:
Bad Astronomy: Awesomely bizarre light show freaks out Norway
80beats: What Dangers Lurk in WWII-Era Nuclear Dumps?
80beats: For a Real Blast, Strap a Nuclear Reactor to a Spaceship
80beats: The Upside of Nuclear Testing: Traceable Radioactivity in Our Heart Cells

Image: Jan Petter Jørgensen

  • Thom

    Funny how the media treats this. Like, “Oh, it’s no big deal. It’s not aliens from outer space, it’s just the Russians test-firing ICBM’s in preparation for a nuclear war. No cause for concern, everybody go back to sleep. ”

    The Russians could have been testing an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) here. Why would anyone believe Putin?

  • Brian Too


    Why don’t you ask the Russians to stop? I’m sure they’d listen to you…

  • dragon slayer

    What I see is a premeditated failure to fool the West into complacency (….in addition to the Nobel Peace price for Obama, who has locked his jaws on his price like a pitbull going for the kill, this dog can’t bark anymore, until the Russian nukes are over Washington) consequently giving the Russians the advantage of a nuclear surprise.

  • The Science Pundit

    I really like this 3-D animated simulation of what happened.

  • Boris

    – UFO-show in Norway sky welcomes Obama for Nobel Prize ceremony…
    – UFO sees Obama become President – 24 Jan 2009 – (FOTO-VIDEO)
    – UFO disclosure by Obama, The Pope and The UK on its way?… The White House has released a list of visitors. Topping the list is Andy Stern president of the Service Employees International with 22 visits. Second on the list is John Podesta with 17 visits who has supported efforts from the UFO research community to pressure the United States government to release files to the public that could bring light on the simmering allegations of conspiracies and cover-up of the issue:

  • Carter

    Russia wants new missiles for what? Who cares? Nobody would use nuclear weapons on someone with nuclear weapons. They should scrap the project and invest in moon bases! Combine forces with NASA and the ESA and unite humanity! Yay idealism.

  • Coty

    I can’t tell if boris (#5) is being sarcastic or just a dumbass.

  • snotboy

    humans are doomed for extinction. nuclear warhead tests and nobody notices, cares or seems to mind.
    global environmental devastation and the same indifference again,
    but the sniffles! the entire world goes on alert over a disease thats been around since we could remember! oh, it means some medical pirate can sell you his snake oil vaccine that has a statistically similar chance of killing you! i wonder why this terrible threat to mankind of the sniffles is being acted on and the overfishing, dforestatiion , overpopulation, climate change, natural disasters and floods are being kinda indifferently ignored.
    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$= the end of man and we thoroughly deserve it, blue fin tuna sandwich anyone? flight to australia?
    im off to set fire to some undergrowth and pour sulfuric acid in a river to add to the effort.

  • rabidmob

    It’s not the fact that the Russians are testing a missile, but the when that is more important.

    Testing a missile over Norway when the president of the US is there? Not a coincidence.

    As far as the missile tests, Russia has been able to peg the US should they ever so choose for a long time.

    Though on the long list of things that could cause the extinction of the human species, this is one of the few that can be avoided.

  • ilona@israel

    that what is funny about russia-they have lots of serious and dangerous and high-technology things but it seems like its in their mentality- to expect that *hopefully its gonna work, though we are not sure*. this article- another example of such position.

  • Serge

    The amount of crazy ass UFO addicts doesn’t even come close to the the number russophobic conspiracy morons. You all are absolutely right. Russia is building an intercontinental missile in order to destroy the world. They will take Santa Clause and Obama from us and will destroy us in one shot, that is if their missiles don’t collide with their broke down satellites in space. Then they will escape to another planet where humans and aliens live in peace. In the meantime, Russia is firing its missiles over every country the US president is in. Apparently, to show how their rockets spin in the air and say “Hey, look Obama, Don’t fuck with us or we’ll try and sell you some of these bad boys so you can spin them over Mexico!”

    Unless you’re an absolute dumbass, which appears to be the case with a lot of you, i’m being sarcastic after the 1st sentence.

  • Terik Ororke

    Who really cares any more—-and that is the real problem !

  • Bettyann Snowball

    Hello intelligent points.. now why didn’t I consider these?


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