Re: Spy satellite unscheduled de-orbit

robert casey wrote:

They built a fully functional nuclear reactor around the size of a small garbage can.
Mind you it didn't have any shielding on it, and needed 95% pure U-235 to operate off of (that's weapons-grade U-235), but it was an amazing packaging job nonetheless.

Heard that these things produced interference of some sort to probes examining the Van Allen belts.

That's in Sven's article. It was the liquid potassiums coolant that got shot out when the reactor core got ejected:
It's a real irony that Sven Grahn and Mark Wade turned out two of the sharpest space sites on the web, yet neither of them came from a country that ever built a indigenous rocket that was capable of even putting a small satellite into orbit.

You can use solar powered ion engines out as far as the asteroids, but beyond that you are in nuclear power territory.
You run a nuclear powered ion space probe through a couple of gravitational assists around the gas giants, and you could send it out of the solar system and into the Kuiper Belt going like a bat out of hell.

Be careful that it doesn't fly by so fast that you don't get enough time to photograph and do other science at various Kuiper Belt objects.

Distance between them would be so great at their radius of orbit that far from the Sun... that even if they equaled the mass of the whole solar system, you'd be hard pressed to come within detailed optical observation range of one by chance.