posted on Sep, 17 2008 @ 12:31 PM
heres some info on the failed reactor in 1965
The US SNAP-10A launched in 1965 was a 45 kWt thermal nuclear fission reactor which produced 650 watts using a thermoelectric converter and operated
for 43 days but was shut down due to a voltage regulator (not reactor) malfunction. It remains in orbit.
The last US space reactor initiative was a joint NASA-DOE-Defence Dept program developing the SP-100 reactor - a 2 MWt fast reactor unit and
thermoelectric system delivering up to 100 kWe as a multi-use power supply for orbiting missions or as a lunar/Martian surface power station. This was
terminated in the early 1990s after absorbing nearly $1 billion. It used uranium nitride fuel and was lithium-cooled.
There was also a Timberwind pebble bed reactor concept under the Defence Dept Multi-Megawatt (MMW) space power program during the late 1980s, in
collaboration with DOE. This had power requirements well beyond any civil space program.
Between 1967 and 1988 the former Soviet Union launched 31 low-powered fission reactors in Radar Ocean Reconnaissance Satellites (RORSATs) on Cosmos
missions. They utilised thermoelectric converters to produce electricity, as with the RTGs. Romashka reactors were their initial nuclear power source,
a fast spectrum graphite reactor with 90%-enriched uranium carbide fuel operating at high temperature. Then the Bouk fast reactor produced 3 kW for up
to 4 months. Later reactors, such as on Cosmos-954 which re-entered over Canada in 1978, had U-Mo fuel rods and a layout similar to the US heatpipe
reactors described below.
no doubt that the new version is more efficient also looks better