SNAP-10A - Nuclear Powered Satellite
SNAP-10A (Systems for Nuclear, Auxiliary Power, aka Snapshot for Space Nuclear Auxiliary Power Shot, also known as OPS 4682, COSPAR 1965-027A) was a US experimental nuclear powered satellite launched into space in 1965 as part of the SNAPSHOT program. The test marked the world's first operation of a nuclear reactor in orbit, and also the first operation of an ion thruster system in orbit. It is the only fission reactor power system launched into space by the United States. The reactor stopped working after just 43 days due to a non-nuclear electrical component failure. The Systems Nuclear Auxiliary Power Program (SNAP) reactor was specifically developed for satellite use in the 1950s and early 1960s under the supervision of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. As of 2010, more than 30 small fission power system nuclear reactors have been sent into space in Soviet RORSAT satellites.