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nuclear weapons in space?

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posted on Apr, 27 2005 @ 04:12 AM
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just wondered if any body knows what would happen if a nuclear device was detonated in space?

with there being no atmosphere,gravity or oxygen would the blast be more or less powerfull...how far would the blast spread?.....would it be more or less than on earth?....i presume it would be more due to the lack of resistance of the air?

what speeds would the debris from the device travel at or would they simply be vapourised?

im sure one of you smart cookies on here has theorys or facts?

Regards.




posted on Apr, 27 2005 @ 04:29 AM
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I read that a nuclear explosion on the Moon would be less powerful than on Earth. So I assume the same would be true for space.



posted on Apr, 27 2005 @ 04:38 AM
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Google is a great research tool!! Have a look at this NASA paper:

"If a nuclear weapon is exploded in a vacuum - ie., in space - the complexion of weapon effects changes drastically:

First, in the absence of an atmosphere, blast disappears completely.

Second, thermal radiation, as usually defined, also disappears. There is no longer any air for the blast wave to heat and much higher frequency radiation is emitted from the weapon itself."

The full article gives more information and graphs too - happy reading!



posted on Apr, 27 2005 @ 07:03 AM
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There was an interesting proposal to use nuclear weapons as a means of propulsion for a space ship. It came under the title "Project Orion". This was several decades ago. When the US and USSR signed the "No nukes in space" treaty it was scraped, but I'm sure the plans are still around.
Here's a website that descibes it a little better: www.unmuseum.org...

It was used in a science fiction book several years ago by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle "Footfall". Pretty good science fiction read.



posted on Apr, 27 2005 @ 08:58 AM
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It is believed that some Soviet era nuclear powered weather satellites may in fact contain nuclear weapons, to be used for their EMP effects in the event of war. They may still be active in orbit.



posted on Apr, 27 2005 @ 12:39 PM
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The Soviet-era Radar Ocean Recce Satellite (RORSAT) used a small nuclear reactor for its power source. Just ask the Canadiens about them....they had on come crashing down on their heads...COSMOS 954.



posted on Apr, 27 2005 @ 04:42 PM
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Originally posted by Pyros
The Soviet-era Radar Ocean Recce Satellite (RORSAT) used a small nuclear reactor for its power source. Just ask the Canadiens about them....they had on come crashing down on their heads...COSMOS 954.



Yep nad because of that power source it makes it impossible to detect a nuclear warhead on the satellite.



posted on Apr, 27 2005 @ 08:18 PM
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I find it hard to believe that during the intense cold war nether country put nuke sin space, I know they signed treaty's but I don't think either country gave a... about the treaty's. I think that both the U.S. and USSR put nukes in space maybe the U.S. took its down after the cold war same with Russia, but I don't know if there are any up there now.



posted on Apr, 27 2005 @ 08:53 PM
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Originally posted by WestPoint23
maybe the U.S. took its down after the cold war same with Russia, but I don't know if there are any up there now.


I don't know how they would have brought them down, the only way to bring a satellite down is with a controlled crash, which risks contamination of the atmosphere. Therefore if they did have them up there they would still be there.



posted on Apr, 27 2005 @ 09:44 PM
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Cant they have removed them form the satellite with robots? Also cant they somehow thrust the satellite into an orbit where it might fall over the ocean? If the nukes are not armed then they won't go off.



posted on Apr, 27 2005 @ 09:50 PM
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Originally posted by WestPoint23
Cant they have removed them form the satellite with robots? Also cant they somehow thrust the satellite into an orbit where it might fall over the ocean? If the nukes are not armed then they won't go off.


I was thinking more about burning up in the atmosphere or crashing and spewing plutonium all over the place. They could (providing they had manouvering capability) possibly be shoved into a trajectory towards the sun.



posted on Apr, 28 2005 @ 12:39 PM
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thanks for the input guys


i wouldnt be suprised if some of those cold war sats did have nukes in them.....it probably seemed like a good idea at the time?

regards.



posted on Jan, 21 2006 @ 03:01 PM
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The R-36-O was the only orbiting military nuclear weapon ever deployed, although in order to remain legal under international treaties it was a 'fractional orbital' weapon. Although American infrared early warning satellites invalidated the 'surprise attack' component of the concept, 18 missiles were operational from 1969 to 1983.

The Global Rocket 1 (GR-1) requirement of 1961 called for a system to place a large nuclear warhead equipped with a deorbit rocket stage into a low earth orbit of 150 km altitude. The warhead could approach the United States from any direction, below missile tracking radar, so little warning was available. Not only could such a missile hit any point on earth, but the enemy would also be uncertain when it would be deorbited onto target. The disadvantages were greater complexity, lower accuracy, and the need to use a lighter warhead in comparison to an ICBM. Furthermore American development and deployment of infrared early-warning satellites in the 1970's invalidated the warning advantage.

www.astronautix.com...


It's a open question how many they really had/have orbiting just waiting to power up and drop from orbit. Certaintly worth considering.

Stellar



posted on Jan, 21 2006 @ 03:20 PM
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Yes the project known as Starfish Prime. I unexpectedly came across it while researching the mariner 4.

for more info
en.wikipedia.org...

Here's an artificial aurora created by the project as viewed from honolulu


Here's an intro to the article itself


Starfish Prime was an outer space nuclear test conducted by the United States of America on July 9, 1962, a joint-effort of the Defense Atomic Support Agency (DASA) and the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). Launched via a Thor rocket and carrying a W49 thermonuclear warhead (manufactured by Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory) and a Mk4 reentry vehicle, the explosion took place 400 kilometers (250 miles) above Johnston Island in the Pacific Ocean. It was part of Operation Dominic.

With the test taking place in such a high altitude, it was one of the five tests conducted by the USA in outer space as defined by the FAI. It produced a yield of 1.5 megatons of TNT.



posted on Jan, 23 2006 @ 01:03 PM
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Optimus fett, I regret to say that the Russians have already tried this way back in the '70s.

They allegedly detonated a thermo-nuclear device of at least 200 - 300 megatons in what has since been labelled as an exo-atmospheric burst!

The resulting communications blackout across Europe, led directly to a moritorium which all nuclear powers signed to make future space experiments illegal!

Residual nuclear radiations (fallout) was negligable because the detonation was carried out in space and as such, any fallout returning to earth would have been burnt on entering the atmosphere.

I will trawl my contacts and manuals for further info.



posted on Jan, 23 2006 @ 01:38 PM
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Originally posted by rogue1

Originally posted by WestPoint23
Cant they have removed them form the satellite with robots? Also cant they somehow thrust the satellite into an orbit where it might fall over the ocean? If the nukes are not armed then they won't go off.


I was thinking more about burning up in the atmosphere or crashing and spewing plutonium all over the place. They could (providing they had manouvering capability) possibly be shoved into a trajectory towards the sun.
uh, anyone putting nukes in space as anything other than a blackout weapon is probrably putting them in in re-entry vehicles. (Read: Warheads) Which are very specificly designed NOT to break apart or burn up. They're designed to remain intact and functional despite re-entry or enemy attempts to shoot them down.




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