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Plasma-A

Plasma-A

The Plasma-A satellites were technological test spacecraft to test out new systems for the US-AM RORSATs. It was based on the US-A RORSAT bus, but was fitted with the new Topaz nuclear rector, which used thermo-emission conversion method to convert heat to electricity. Topaz provided over 10 kW of power and had long endurance and storage in a radiation-safe orbit.

Plazma-A did not have the radar of the US-A spacecraft, but tested a number of other systems:

  • electrostatic manoeuvring engines (6 × SPT-70 Stationary Plasma Thrusters)
  • ion orientation and stabilisation engines
  • solar sensors
  • magnetic momentum compensators
  • multi-channel wave devices

The Plasma-A satellites carried instruments to map the magnetic field of the earth for the development of a magnetic navigation system.

Two Plasma-A space craft were successfully launched on Tsiklon-2 rockets. Due to the higher orbit than the US-A spacecraft, the reactors were not separated and boosted into a storage orbit.

Nation: USSR
Type / Application: Technology, nuclear reactor
Operator:
Contractors:
Equipment:
Configuration: US Bus
Propulsion: 6 × SPT-70 Stationary Plasma Thrusters
Power: Topaz-1 nuclear reactor
Lifetime:
Mass: 3550 kg
Orbit: 774 km × 803 km, 65.0
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Kosmos 1818 (Plasma-A #1) 1987-011A 01.02.1987 Ba LC-90 Tsiklon-2
Kosmos 1867 (Plasma-A #2) 1987-060A 10.07.1987 Ba LC-90 Tsiklon-2