SNAP-10A atomic satellite.
Category. Statistic.
Launch vehicle. ATLAS Agena D rocket.
Launch date. 1965.
Launch site. Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Ceased operations. It had shut down after 43 days due to a non-nuclear malfunction caused by a broken on-board (carried inside) voltage regulator within the spacecraft.
Owner(s). U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.
Major contractor(s).  Atomics International had primary responsibility and Sandia National Laboratories.
Is it still in orbit. Yes, until circa ~5,965. Some minor bits stared coming off since the November of 1979 after a collision and radiation is leaking out. The main parts and the reactor core are still safely in orbit.
Launch mass. 440 kg (970 lb).
Nationality(s). American.
Satellite type. Systems Nuclear Auxiliary Power Program (SNAP) [fusion] reactor test bed satellite.
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SNAP 10A Space Nuclear Power Plant

SNAP 10A Space Nuclear Power Plant. The world's first nuclear reactor power plant to operate in space, SNAP 10A, was launched into Earth orbit on April 3, 1965.

SNAP-10A First Nuclear Reactor In Space 1965 Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)

SNAP-10A First Nuclear Reactor In Space 1965 Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)

The Systems Nuclear Auxiliary Power (SNAP) program was a program of experimental radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) and space nuclear reactors flown during the 1960s by NASA... Public domain film from the Atomic Energy Commission, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied. The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).

The plan was tn the 1950s and early 1960s. The Systems Nuclear Auxiliary Power Program (SNAP) reactor was developed i as part of the SNAPSHOT program overseen by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.

Idaho National Laboratory conducted 3 pre-launch destructive tests in Test Area North, including the SNAPTRAN-3 destructive experiment, on April 1, 1964. The test simulated a rocket crash into the ocean, radiating part of the Idaho desert in a deliberate fire ball.

There were other atomic satellites, including the Soviet RORSAT and Safe Affordable Fission Engine test satellites.

The plan was to create an endless or near endless power-supply for space vessels and satellites, since solar panels only worked in star-light and batteries would eventually run out.

See alsoEdit

  1. Space satellites
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