Lincoln Experimental Satellites 8 and 9 Hot Drop Tests.
Technical rept. 21 Apr-7 Jul 72,
AIR FORCE WEAPONS LAB KIRTLAND AFB N MEX
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An adequate nuclear safety evaluation is conducted for any USAF launched mission which uses nuclear powered electrical generators. The Lincoln Experimental Satellites 8 and 9 LES 89 are such a mission. The total inventory of plutonium-238 is in excess of 280,000 curies. Terminal velocity and impact orientation of the radioisotope thermoelectric generators RTG are required. Actual drop tests of simulated models were deemed the most appropriate and expeditious method for obtaining the necessary basic data. Two electric furnaces mounted on the cargo ramp of a C-130A aircraft were used in the conduct of the tests. Simulated components of the RTGs were dropped on White Sands Missile Range WSMR, some at ambient temperature and the remainder at about 1500F. Optical and radar tracking along with motion picture coverage provided the necessary information on velocity and orientation. The hot body effect was observed, i.e., identical objects fell some 18 percent slower when dropped after being heated to about 1500F as opposed to those dropped at ambient temperature. The tests were completed ahead of schedule and exceeded all objectives. Author
- Electric Power Production and Distribution
- Test Facilities, Equipment and Methods
- SNAP (Systems for Nuclear Auxiliary Power) Technology