List of nuclear power systems in space

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This list of nuclear power systems in space includes nuclear power systems that were flown to space, or launched in an attempt to reach space. Examples of nuclear power systems include radioisotope heater units (RHU), Radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTG), thermionic converters, and fission reactors. Initial total spacecraft power is provided as electrical energy (We) or thermal energy (Wt), depending on the intended application.

Nation Mission Launched Fate / location Technology Nuclear fuel Power (nominal) Ref
 USA Transit-4A 1961 Earth orbit SNAP-3B 238
Pu
2.7 We [1]
 USA Transit-4B 1961 Earth orbit SNAP-3B 238
Pu
2.7 We [1]
 USA Transit 5BN-1 1963 Earth orbit SNAP-9A 238
Pu
25.2 We [1]
 USA Transit 5BN-2 1963 Earth orbit SNAP-9A 238
Pu
26.8 We [1]
 USA Transit 5BN-3 1964 Failed to reach orbit, burned up in atmosphere. SNAP-9A 238
Pu
25 We [2]
 USA SNAPSHOT 1965 Earth orbit, 700 miles (1,100 km) SNAP-10A uranium-zirconium hydride 500 We [1]
 USA Nimbus-B-1 1968 Fuel recovered from ocean after crash, reused SNAP-19B (2) 238
Pu
56 We [1]
 USA Nimbus III 1969 Earth re-entry 1972 SNAP-19B (2) 238
Pu
56.4 We [1]
 USA Nimbus IV 1970 Earth orbit SNAP-19 [3]
 USA Nimbus V 1972 Earth orbit SNAP-19 [3]
 USA Nimbus VI 1975 Earth orbit, damaged SNAP-19 [3]
 USA Nimbus VII 1978 Earth orbit, damaged SNAP-19 [3]
 USA Apollo 11 1969 RHU (2) 30 Wt [1]
 USA Apollo 12 ALSEP 1969 Lunar surface (Ocean of Storms)[4] SNAP-27 238
Pu
73.6 We [1]
 USA Apollo 13 ALSEP 1970 Earth re-entry (Pacific Ocean, Tonga Trench) SNAP-27 238
Pu
73 We [1]
 USA Apollo 14 ALSEP 1971 Lunar surface (Fra Mauro) SNAP-27 238
Pu
72.5 We [1]
 USA Apollo 15 ALSEP 1971 Lunar surface (Hadley–Apennine) SNAP-27 238
Pu
74.7 We [1]
 USA Pioneer 10 1972 Ejected from Solar System SNAP-19 (4) + RHU (12) 238
Pu
162.8 We + 12 Wt [1]
 USA Apollo 16 ALSEP 1972 Lunar surface (Descartes Highlands) SNAP-27 238
Pu
70.9 We [1]
 USA TRAID-01-1X 1972 Earth orbit SNAP-19 238
Pu
35.6 We [1]
 USA Apollo 17 ALSEP 1972 Lunar surface (Taurus–Littrow) SNAP-27 238
Pu
75.4 We [1]
 USA Pioneer 11 1973 Ejected from Solar System SNAP-19 (4) + RHU (12) 238
Pu
159.6 We + 12 Wt [1]
 USA Viking 1 1976 Mars surface (Chryse Planitia) lander modified SNAP-19 (2) 238
Pu
84.6 We [1]
 USA Viking 2 1976 Mars surface (Utopia Planitia) lander modified SNAP-19 (2) 238
Pu
86.2 We [1]
 USA LES-8 1976 Near geostationary orbit MHW-RTG (2) 238
Pu
307.4 We [1]
 USA LES-9 1976 Near geostationary orbit MHW-RTG (2) 238
Pu
308.4 We [1]
 USA Voyager 1 1977 Ejected from Solar System MHW-RTG (3) + RHU(9) 238
Pu
477.6 We + 9 Wt [1]
 USA Voyager 2 1977 Ejected from Solar System MHW-RTG (3) + RHU(9) 238
Pu
470.1 We + 9 Wt [1]
 USA Galileo 1989 Jupiter atmospheric entry GPHS-RTG (2) 576.8 We [1]
 USA Ulysses 1990 Heliocentric orbit GPHS-RTG 283 We [1]
 USA Cassini 1997 burned-up in Saturn's Atmosphere GPHS-RTG (3) 238
Pu
887 We
 USA New Horizons 2006 Pluto and beyond GPHS-RTG (1) 238
Pu
249.6 We
 USA MSL/Curiosity rover 2011 Mars surface MMRTG 238
Pu
113 We
 Soviet Union Kosmos 84 1965 Earth orbit Orion-1 RTG 210
Po
[3][5]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 90 1965 Earth orbit Orion-1 RTG 210
Po
[3][5]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 198 1967 Earth orbit RTG 235
U
[3]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 209 1968 Earth orbit RTG 235
U
[3]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 305 1969 Burned up in atmosphere RTG 235
U
[3]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 367 1970 Earth orbit, 579 mile altitude 235
U
2 kWe [3][6]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 402 1971 Earth orbit 235
U
2 kWe [3]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 469 1971 BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 516 1972 High orbited 1972 BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union RORSAT 1973 Launch failure over Pacific Ocean, near Japan BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 626 1973 Earth orbit BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 651 1974 BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 654 1974 BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 723 1975 BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 724 1975 BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 785 1975 failed after reaching orbit BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 860 1976 BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 861 1976 BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 952 1977 BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 954 1977 exploded on re-entry 1978 (over Canada) BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 1176 1980 11788/11971 Earth orbit 870–970 km BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 1249 1981 BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 1266 1981 BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 1299 1981 BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 1402 1982 Earth re-entry 1983 (South Atlantic) BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 1372 1982 BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 1365 1982 BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 1412 1982 BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 1461 1983 earth orbit, exploded BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [3]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 1597 1984 BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 1607 1984 High orbited 1985 BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 1670 1985 High orbited 1985 BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 1677 1985 High orbited 1985 BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 1736 1986 High orbited 1986 BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 1771 1986 High orbited 1986 BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 1900 1987 earth orbit, 454 mile altitude BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7][6]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 1860 1987 BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 1932 1988 Earth orbit 800–900 km BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 1682 1985 High orbited 1986 BES-5 235
U
2 kWe [7]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 1818 1987 destroyed in high earth orbit Topaz-I Reactor 235
U
5 kWe [8]
 Soviet Union Kosmos 1867 1987 parked in high earth orbit Topaz-I Reactor 235
U
5 kWe [9]
 Soviet Union Lunokhod 201 1969 Destroyed at launch RHU 210
Po
[10]
 Soviet Union Lunokhod 1 1970 Lunar surface RHU 210
Po
[10]
 Soviet Union Lunokhod 2 1973 Lunar surface RHU 210
Po
[10]
 Soviet Union Mars 96 1996 Launch failure, entered Pacific Ocean RHU (4) 238
Pu
[10]
 China Chang'e 3 and Yutu 2013 Lunar surface several RHU's, RTG 238
Pu
[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y "Atomic Power in Space II: A History 2015" (PDF). inl.gov. Idaho National Laboratory. September 2015. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Transit". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 24 January 2013. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Hagen, Regina (November 8, 1998). "Nuclear Powered Space Missions - Past and Future". www.space4peace.org. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  4. ^ David M. Harland (2011). Apollo 12 - On the Ocean of Storms. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 269. ISBN 978-1-4419-7607-9.
  5. ^ a b Bennett, Gary L. (August 6, 1989). "A LOOK AT THE SOVIET SPACE NUCLEAR POWER PROGRAM" (PDF). International Forum on Energy Engineering. NASA Propulsion, Power and Energy Division. IECEC-89. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  6. ^ a b [1]
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae "US-A". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Mark Wade. 14 September 2007. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  8. ^ "Old Russian Nuclear Satellite Returns". Spacedaily.com. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  9. ^ Lardier, Christian; Barensky, Stefan (March 27, 2018). The Proton Launcher: History and Developments. Wiley-ISTE. ISBN 1786301768.
  10. ^ a b c d Karacalıoğlu, Göktuğ (January 6, 2014). "Energy Resources for Space Missions". Space Safety Magazine. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  11. ^ "Chang'e-3 - Satellite Missions". earth.esa.int. ESA. Retrieved 12 June 2018.