Fragments break off Soviet-era nuclear satellite

Fragments have broken off a Soviet-era nuclear-powered satellite, a senior Russian military official said.

Fragments break off Soviet-era nuclear satellite

Fragments have broken off a Soviet-era nuclear-powered satellite but do not pose a threat to the Earth's surface or the International Space Station, a senior Russian military official said.

The Cosmos-1818 military satellite, which was decommissioned shortly after its launch in 1987, shed "insignificant" fragments into space on July 4, 2008, the deputy head of Russia's Space Forces Alexander Yakushin said in a statement on Wednesday.

"There is no risk of radioactive contamination of the Earth's surface," he said. The International Space Station is not at risk as the satellite has a much higher orbit, he said.

U.S. publication the Orbital Debris Quarterly News reported in its January issue that the satellite released dozens of particles, possibly droplets of sodium-potassium coolant from its reactor.

The high orbit of the satellite, which was taken out of service months after its launch, means there is no threat of premature re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, the report said.


Reuters

Last Mod: 22 Ocak 2009, 14:58
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