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Old July 24 2013, 04:59 AM   #23
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Satellites in Space

sojourner wrote: View Post
EmoBorg wrote: View Post
Metryq wrote: View Post
I'm guessing you don't know anything about orbital mechanics. While a satellite can be shifted to a new orbit, this "space mines" idea would be terribly inefficient.

A nuclear powered satellite would not have such a problem. When the space mine uses it's nuclear power supply to increase the effect of the explosion, that explosion would have a large radius. Even if it does not physically cause the destruction of the enemy satellite, it could still fry the electronic circuits of the target to make it dysfunctional.
This just demonstrates that you also don't know much about nuclear detonations in space. A nuclear explosion in space is not that big, most of the energy is radiated as light and heat.
Actually, most of it is radiated in soft x-rays and infrared radiation, the latter of which is mainly emitted from the vaporized bomb casing itself. Because there's no air to absorb those x-rays (and produce the fireball you'd see in an airburst) the radiation burst falls off at the square of the distance, which means that any object within a certain radius will be superheated and/or vaporized by the radiation pulse.

Depending on the yield of the warhead, this could be anywhere between 2 and 10km. Far less than it would be in an atmosphere, but for satellites even a smaller burst of soft x-rays would be enough to fry their electronics and knock out their solar arrays and power systems.

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