The dream of Sergei Korolev, Wernher von Braun and their predecessors to design a powerful engine for long-term space flight missions may soon come true. Roscosmos Head Vladimir Popovkin has announced that the engineering prototype of a megawatt-class nuclear propulsion unit for outer space missions will be developed in Russia in 2017.
Bench tests of a reactor for a nuclear-powered spacecraft may start in Sosnovy Bor near St Petersburg as early as next year. In June 2010, then-President Dmitry Medvedev issued an instruction backing the project of a space transport and power module based on a megawatt-class nuclear power installation.
The president promised 17 billion roubles to implement the project in 2010–2018, 7.245 billion roubles of which were earmarked for Rosatom to build the reactor. The M. V. Keldysh Research Centre will receive 3.955 billion roubles to create the nuclear propulsion unit, and the remaining 5.8 billion roubles will be used to finance the design of the transport and power module by the Rocket and Space Corporation (RKK) Energia.
The United States and the USSR started working on nuclear rocket engines back in the 1960s. “The original task was to create rocket engines that would heat hydrogen to about 3,000 degrees rather than burn fuel and oxidise materials,” says Russian Academy of Sciences member Anatoly Koroteyev, who is the general director of Keldysh Centre and head of research of the transport and power module project. “But that direct method proved to be inefficient. We occasionally got more traction, but the jet stream the engine emissions can be radioactive if the reactor fails.” . . .
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UFO Propulsion Systems By Stanton T. Friedman (Part One)
UFO Propulsion Systems By Stanton T. Friedman (Part Two)
UFO Propulsion Systems By Stanton T. Friedman (Part Three)
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