Monitoring Sources of Nuclear Radiation in Space 1985-1987 Observations. Revision
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC
Pagination or Media Count:
The gamma-ray spectrometer GRS on NASAs Solar Maximum Mission satellite SMM has been monitoring Soviet nuclear reactors in space since 1980 when it detected radiation from COSMOS 1176. Direct observations of gamma radiation were made within about 500 km when the RORSATS were not occulted by a significant amount of material in SMM. Indirect observations were also made up to distances in excess of a few thousand kilometers. These observations were made when positrons and electrons produced in the outer layers of the reactor powered spacecraft reached SMM after being stored in the Earths magnetic field. This report provides details of SMMs observations of the four RORSATS launched in 1985 and 1986, and compares these with measurements made of the seven RORSATS detected from 1980 to 1984. The average intensities from all the eleven reactor- powered satellites are consistent with each other, after correcting for distance of separation. The observed increase in the rate of distant detections of positrons from 1980 to 1984 is due to the decreasing atmospheric density above a few hundred km in the transition from maximum to minimum solar activity. The rate did not change significantly between 1984 and 1986.
- Nuclear Instrumentation
- Radioactivity, Radioactive Wastes and Fission Products
- Unmanned Spacecraft