THIS DAY IN THE YESTERYEAR: SOVIET SATELLITE BREAKS UP UPON REENTRY, SCATTERING NUCLEAR DEBRIS (1978)

Soviet Satellite Breaks Up upon Reentry, Scattering Nuclear Debris (1978)

Cosmos 954 was a Soviet reconnaissance satellite that used radar to observe ocean traffic. It was launched in September 1977 and quickly began to experience problems. Within months, it had deviated from its designed orbit. A malfunction prevented the safe separation of its onboard nuclear reactor, so when the satellite reentered the Earth’s atmosphere, it scattered radioactive debris over northern Canada, necessitating an extensive clean-up operation. How much did Canada bill the USSR for this? More… Discuss

 

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