Author Topic: Last nights pass of OPS 4862, SnapShot, SPC#1314  (Read 852 times)

Offline Thomas Dorman

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Last nights pass of OPS 4862, SnapShot, SPC#1314
« on: 03/04/2018 02:39 PM »
Last night's pass of OPS 4863,SnapShot, SPC# 1314, 2018-3-4 @ 2:32:16 UT at a distance of 1501.5 Km. Snapshot was the only full blown nuclear reactor ever flown by the United States. Russia flew around 30 small nuclear reactors. Snapshot was launched on April 3 1965 form Vandenberg Air Force base California on a Atlas SLV-3 Agena D into a polar orbit.The reactor measures 39.62 cm (15.6 in) long, 22.4 cm (8.8 in) diameter and holds 37 fuel rods containing 235U as uranium-zirconium-hydride fuel. It generated around 30 kW. Top part of the satellite was the reactor the lower part was the Agena D rocket which carried subsystem for communication. Snapshot operated for 43 days before there was a non-nuclear electrical component failure which ended the mission. In 1979 the Snapshot satellite started shedding 50 detectable pieces of debris from the satellite. The video was shoot using a AVS astrovideo camera, Canon zoom lens set to 50mm at F/2.0 captured to a mini DVR. Enjoy a piece of space history! Regards
Thomas

Offline Star One

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Last nights pass of OPS 4862, SnapShot, SPC#1314
« Reply #1 on: 03/04/2018 07:36 PM »
Thanks for this. What kind of estimate if any is there for its re-entry?

I can find nothing online about this aspect.
« Last Edit: 03/04/2018 07:39 PM by Star One »

Offline speedevil

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Re: Last nights pass of OPS 4862, SnapShot, SPC#1314
« Reply #2 on: 03/04/2018 07:59 PM »
Thanks for this. What kind of estimate if any is there for its re-entry?

Broadly 'never'.
Wikipedia estimates 4000 years, which seems ballpark, perhaps pessimistic. The atmosphere gets a lot less dense over 600km or so, such that orbits don't really decay much.

Offline Star One

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Last nights pass of OPS 4862, SnapShot, SPC#1314
« Reply #3 on: 03/04/2018 08:00 PM »
Thanks for this. What kind of estimate if any is there for its re-entry?

Broadly 'never'.
Wikipedia estimates 4000 years, which seems ballpark, perhaps pessimistic. The atmosphere gets a lot less dense over 600km or so, such that orbits don't really decay much.

Thank you. Is there any indication on the probability that the pieces it has been shedding are in anyway radioactive? See the quote below I did come across.

Quote
Although the main body remains in place, radioactive material may have been released. Later research, published in 2008 and based on Haystack data, suggests that there are another 60 or more pieces of debris of size <10 cm
« Last Edit: 03/04/2018 08:04 PM by Star One »

Offline speedevil

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Re: Last nights pass of OPS 4862, SnapShot, SPC#1314
« Reply #4 on: 03/04/2018 08:13 PM »
Is that above the half life of the nuclear materials onboard?

Ballpark figures 'it's complicated'.
The radioactivity after a week will be somewhere around 0.1% of operating radioactivity.

After four thousand years, all that is left is stuff with half-lives of over a thousand years, and that is not very active per second.
Perhaps a millionth or so of the operating level, combined with the small quantity not a big issue.

Plus, in the next few years, it's likely to be recovered.
(well before it decays)

Offline Star One

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Re: Last nights pass of OPS 4862, SnapShot, SPC#1314
« Reply #5 on: 03/04/2018 08:15 PM »
Is that above the half life of the nuclear materials onboard?

Ballpark figures 'it's complicated'.
The radioactivity after a week will be somewhere around 0.1% of operating radioactivity.

After four thousand years, all that is left is stuff with half-lives of over a thousand years, and that is not very active per second.
Perhaps a millionth or so of the operating level, combined with the small quantity not a big issue.

Plus, in the next few years, it's likely to be recovered.
(well before it decays)

Recovered?

By the way I deleted that half-life question as I didnít know if it was a silly question in light of the complexity of the issue.

Offline speedevil

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Re: Last nights pass of OPS 4862, SnapShot, SPC#1314
« Reply #6 on: 03/04/2018 08:17 PM »
Recovered?

By the way I deleted that half-life question as I didnít know if it was a silly question in light of the complexity of the issue.

Assuming space-flight does not stall, it is going to be essentially free to de-orbit it safely in a vehicle, or to kick it into solar orbit in a hundred years time.
Maybe, with luck, twenty.

Online Comga

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Re: Last nights pass of OPS 4862, SnapShot, SPC#1314
« Reply #7 on: 03/04/2018 09:00 PM »
Recovered?

By the way I deleted that half-life question as I didnít know if it was a silly question in light of the complexity of the issue.

Assuming space-flight does not stall, it is going to be essentially free to de-orbit it safely in a vehicle, or to kick it into solar orbit in a hundred years time.
Maybe, with luck, twenty.
Free?
🙄
And itís pretty extraneous to the OP
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline Thomas Dorman

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Re: Last nights pass of OPS 4862, SnapShot, SPC#1314
« Reply #8 on: 03/05/2018 12:08 AM »
SNAPSHOT (1964)

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