an exercise in miscellany

List of Artificial Radiation Belts

In history, science & nature on May 1, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Artificial radiation belts are radiation belts that have been created by high altitude nuclear explosions.

List of Artificial Radiation Belts
Explosion Location Date Yield (approximate) Altitude (km) Nation of Origin
Hardtack Teak Johnston Island (Pacific) 1958-08-01 3.8 megatons 76.8 United States
Hardtack Orange Johnston Island (Pacific) 1958-08-12 3.8 megatons 43 United States
Argus I South Atlantic 1958-08-27 1-2 kilotons 200 United States
Argus II South Atlantic 1958-08-30 1-2 kilotons 256 United States
Argus III South Atlantic 1958-09-06 1-2 kilotons 539 United States
Starfish Prime Johnston Island (Pacific) 1962-07-09 1.4 megatons 400 United States
K-3 Kazakhstan 1962-10-22 300 kilotons 290 USSR
K-4 Kazakhstan 1962-10-28 300 kilotons 150 USSR
K-5 Kazakhstan 1962-11-01 300 kilotons 59 USSR

The table above only lists those high-altitude nuclear explosions for which a reference exists in the open (unclassified) English-language scientific literature to persistent artificial radiation belts resulting from the explosion.

The Starfish Prime radiation belt had, by far, the greatest intensity and duration of any of the artificial radiation belts.

The Starfish Prime radiation belt damaged the United States satellites Ariel 1, Traac, Transit 4B, Injun I and Telstar I.  It also damaged the Soviet satellite Cosmos V.  All of these satellites failed completely within several months of the Starfish detonation

via Artificial Radiation Belts

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