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Nuclear Weapons & War, Atomic Reactors & Radiation playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4CD7F0970A5F16AB NASA & Space Miscellany playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_hX5wLdhf_K3mK1TZNCkmdD-JMZYGew1 more at: http://scitech.quickfound.net On the experimental nuclear reactor SNAP-10A, the only fission power system ever launched to space by the US. This film was produced for the AEC by Atomics International (North American Aviation). 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). http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systems_for_Nuclear_Auxiliary_Power 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... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SNAP-10A SNAP-10A was an experimental nuclear reactor launched into space in 1965, and is the only small fission power system ever launched to space by the US. The reactor operated for just 43 days due to a (non-nuclear) electrical component failure. The Systems Nuclear Auxiliary Power Program (SNAP) reactor was developed in the 1950s and early 1960s under the SNAPSHOT program overseen by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission... Spacecraft history SNAP-10A was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base by an ATLAS Agena D rocket on April 3, 1965 into a low Earth orbit altitude of approx. 1,300 km. It is in a slightly retrograde polar orbit — this ensured that the spent rocket stages landed in the ocean. Its nuclear electrical source, made up of thermoelectric elements, was intended to produce over 500 watts of electrical power for one year. After 43 days, an onboard voltage regulator within the spacecraft — unrelated to the SNAP reactor — failed, causing the reactor core to be shut down, after reaching a maximum output of 590 watts. After the 1965 system failure, the reactor was left in a 1,300-kilometre (700 nmi) Earth orbit for an expected duration of 4,000 years. In November 1979 the vehicle began shedding, eventually losing 50 pieces of traceable debris. The reasons were unknown, but the cause could have been a collision. Although the main body remains in place, radioactive material may have been released. As of 2010, more than 30 small fission power system nuclear reactors have been sent into space in Soviet RORSAT satellites; also, over 40 radioisotope thermoelectric generators have been used globally (principally US and USSR) on space missions. Construction and operation The SNAP-10A has three major components — a compact nuclear reactor, the reactor reflector and control system, a heat transfer and power conversion system. 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. The SNAP-10A reactor was designed for a thermal power output of 30 kW and unshielded weighs 650 lb (290 kg). The reactor can be identified at the top of the SNAP-10A unit. Reflectors were arranged around the outside of the reactor to provide the means to control the reactor. The reflectors were composed of a layer of beryllium, which would reflect neutrons, thus allowing the reactor to begin and maintain the fission process. The reflectors were held in place by a retaining band anchored by an explosive bolt. When the reflector was ejected from the unit, the reactor could not sustain the nuclear fission reaction and the reactor permanently shut down. The eutectic sodium-potassium (NaK) alloy was used as a coolant in the SNAP-10A... The Idaho National Laboratory conducted three destructive tests of SNAP nuclear reactors at Test Area North prior to the launch of SNAP-10A. The SNAPTRAN-3 destructive experiment, on April 1, 1964, simulated a rocket crash into the ocean, purposely creating a fireball and sending radioactive debris across the Idaho desert...