QuadroFX

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Nuclear propulsion spacecraft "Nuklon" / "Нуклон" / "Nucleon" also known as TEM / ТЭМ ( Transport and Energy Module ) / Транспортно-Энергетический Модуль / Transportno-Energeticheskiy Modul' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TEM_(nuclear_propulsion)



The assembly process has started! :cool:

9qzczC5.jpg DLsyw2f.jpg
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View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wx1r84BY4x8

First target - Jupiter, until 2030:
 
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flanker

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Interesting to say the least. I assume the build in progress is a static mock up to test subsystems and overall architecture?
 

Josh_TN

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nuclear propulsion is one area where the US is sorely lacking. If we're ever going to get to the outer planets with people, nuclear power will have to be placed in orbit.
 

edwest2

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I doubt nuclear propulsion will be found to be useful. The shielding required adds a lot of mass. I see multistage chemical rockets being assembled on the Moon or Mars, or the asteroid belt. For interstellar travel, the problem is the time it takes to get to the nearest solar system. A space drive operating at a speed of four light years per hour would make such trips practical. Until then, only automated probes traveling at slower speeds.
 
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Dr.Snufflebug

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I doubt nuclear propulsion will be found to be useful. The shielding required adds a lot of mass. I see multistage chemical rockets being assembled on the Moon or Mars, or the asteroid belt. For interstellar travel, the problem is the time it takes to get to the nearest solar system. A space drive operating at a speed of four light years per hour would make such trips practical. Until then, only automated probes traveling at slower speeds.

Not sure if I am misunderstanding you here, or if you are suggesting that while people happily sit through a 12½ hour flight to park their pale butts on a beach in Thailand, professional astronauts wouldn't sit through a 1½ hour trip to Proxima Centauri? The closest star system with earth-like exoplanets is just 4.2 lightyears away.

I mean, you could be talking about relativistic effects (time dilation and what not) that I am not even going to pretend I understand, but 4c is beyond what is permissible by relativistic physics anyway. That's Alcubierre drive territory (where relativistic effects are bypassed, in a loose sense).

On topic, nuclear things should be researched and developed, I'm all for it both here and in space. It's the most energy dense fuel we have tamed (somewhat) and it would be silly to just let it sit there only because some people are scared of it. Black powder and other early explosives killed, maimed or injured at huge percentage of the people tasked with working with it at first, but now we got it down to an art and they're better and safer (for the operators) than ever, to the point where you could put a potentially neighborhood-flattening charge of C4 in a bag and use it for boxing practice without any risk whatsoever.

I am aware that the risks are higher than some localized damage when it comes to nuclear technology, but one thing is for sure - it's not going to get safer if we aren't actively working on it. And it's the most powerful thing we've got, so we are obliged to in my opinion, if we want to expand our horizons in the truest sense, which I'd argue is our "fate".

Just think that close-up images of the Alpha Centauri system taken by an interstellar fly-by probe could have been received by us around this time, 2020, if the Orion project had gotten a full go-ahead, past the conventional-explosive test vehicles (which, by the way, showed that the concept was viable in practice). At a projected max speed of up to 0.1c, had it been launched in the 1960's or 70's, it could have reached the star already and the images could have been received already.

I often think about that, and the excitement of receiving the most distant and most redshifted anthropogenic radio signal ever. Alas, there was a general scare about the project (not unfounded), ecological concerns (not unfounded) and cost concerns (certainly not unfounded), so everything was up against it. But regardless of these very obvious constraints, it was (is?) technology we actually, conceivably possess, the means to fling a probe at a mind-boggling 10% of the speed of light (top velocity after entire acceleration phase, of course).
 
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edwest2

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Fear is not the issue. The United States worked for many years to develop nuclear propulsion. The concern is protecting frail astronauts from excess ionizing radiation. This is a concern for traveling to Mars, much less for longer trips. Planets have been discovered around distant stars, but time will be the key limiting factor when thinking about getting astronauts to something closer, like the outer planets. In the case of solar systems that are 4.2 light years away, a different propulsion system needs to be made. Concepts that are beyond any limit we currently think about. If not, there is no way to send men outside of our own solar system. Food and water would not be available to them in sufficient quantity for one thing.
 

stealthflanker

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Isn't nuclear reactor an Alpha and Beta emitter mainly ? These two are the most dangerous of ionizing radiation but easily stopped. There is Gamma one which need lead but i think for real long range space travel, one would needs heavy shielding anyway because of Galactic cosmic radiation and Solar flares, these are 3 Dimensional in nature thus need basically 360 deg shielding.
 

Dr.Snufflebug

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Isn't nuclear reactor an Alpha and Beta emitter mainly ? These two are the most dangerous of ionizing radiation but easily stopped. There is Gamma one which need lead but i think for real long range space travel, one would needs heavy shielding anyway because of Galactic cosmic radiation and Solar flares, these are 3 Dimensional in nature thus need basically 360 deg shielding.

The radiation scare in outer space is way overblown.

First of all: Astronauts and cosmonauts have been messing around in space for almost 60 years, with long-duration missions happening ever since 1965 (Gemini 5 was the first manned spacecraft to orbit for a week straight). Since then it's just gone up, by the mid-1990's four Russian cosmonauts had spent more than a year each in space, in one go, without interruption. There are some others that have achieved similar total "on-orbit" times, but in their case it's been over several spaceflights, with some good "Earth-time" in between.

These guys and gals have flown through the van Allen radiation belts thousands of times, they've left Earth orbit altogether and gone to the Moon, they've experienced solar eruptions (vast amounts of high-energy EM radiation like X-rays and gamma rays always precede the waves of neutron-alpha-beta particle radiation, and they're practically "instant" and thus more or less unforseeable unlike the latter) outside of the Earth's protective atmosphere and on the fringes of its likewise protective magnetic field too.

It's not a biggie. They've got adequate shielding even on the ISS, even though they sometimes have to gather in some of the more protected modules during especially violent space weather.

The further from the Sun you go the less issues you get. Super-high energy cosmic gamma ray bursts are a potential problem, but they're a problem here on our planetary surface too, and no close energetic ones are expected (they typically come from dying stars, and we have a fair idea of possible future candidates that are close enough to matter to us). So cosmic radiation on an insterstellar mission should be no bigger of an issue than what our spacefarers since 1961 have experienced. Actually, once they leave the vicinity of the sun far less so, until they reach the Alpha Centauri system, where the good old "being close to a star" thing repeats itself again.

The radiation from the fuel/propulsion itself is no biggie either. Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, France and China all operate nuclear-powered submarines, where a bunch of people are stuck in a tin can, surrounded by a hostile environment, with a couple of nuclear reactors in the back of the vehicle keeping everything cozy. Live nuclear reactors have flown in space multiple times too (not counting the vast amount of RTGs, that aren't reactors but do contain nuclear fuels). Don't see how that'd be an issue. The potential issues in an Orion-type vehicle would be the blast power and heat acting on the pusher plate. Purely physical/mechanical stuff, not so much the radiation, as we know how to block that in a mobile, manned platform already.

But anyway, that all is just a hypothetical. We could possibly send a probe to the nearest star system, using some Orion-like contraption, and have it whizz by it in our lifetime. We could probably have done it 50 years ago, and reap the fruit of this mission just about now.

Manned ships require so much additional stuff that it is not viable, and it is not going to be a return mission even if you could somehow squeeze 40+ years of life support in an interstellar Orion-esque ship, as it'd require a second Orion with the same amount of propulsive force to brake and enter orbit, and a THIRD Orion to boost it towards Earth again, and apart from that, another 40+years of life support for the return trip. And the braking and return would take quite some time, prolonging the journey even further. Besides, even the most physically fit humans don't even reliably reach 80, let alone 100-150-200, heh, and I'd imagine you'd want someone older than a newborn toddler on the vessel to begin with.

But for unmanned probes, and manned exploration within the solar system, hell yes.

...And, I must add, the radiation scare while these things would be taking off, from Earth, is a whooooole other issue than what would be faced by the occupants while on a mission.

That's one of the main concerns that killed Orion, the launch sequence. First of all, nobody wants a bunch of nukes going off in quick succession in the atmosphere, after all there's an international ban on atmospheric nuclear testing and all. And what if something goes wrong, regular chemical rockets are notoriously difficult to deal with and every now and then one just blows up... A nuclear rocket is even more "rocket science"... What if an Orion vehicle blows up during take-off? Nuclear explosions are already part of the entire thing, but even if the risk of some kind of continuous fission or fusion is negligible, once everything's blown up, there's going to be highly radioactive debris flying everywhere.

Etc, etc, etc. Still though... Mmmm.
 
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Dilandu

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Fear is not the issue. The United States worked for many years to develop nuclear propulsion. The concern is protecting frail astronauts from excess ionizing radiation.

Newsflash: shadow shields. Look at Nuklone: the reactor is at the very end of long and narrow craft. Directly in front of reactor is a small radiation shield, which created a "shadow" in which the rest of the craft is placed.
 

Dilandu

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What if an Orion vehicle blows up during take-off? Nuclear explosions are already part of the entire thing, but even if the risk of some kind of continuous fission or fusion is negligible, once everything's blown up, there's going to be highly radioactive debris flying everywhere.

Well, one solution is to launch the ship & its nuclear charges indepedently, putting drive charges in specially-designed crafts, which would have similar safety features as manned crafts (i.e. being capable of eject from booster & land safely even in worst-case scenario).
 

stealthflanker

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Isn't nuclear reactor an Alpha and Beta emitter mainly ? These two are the most dangerous of ionizing radiation but easily stopped. There is Gamma one which need lead but i think for real long range space travel, one would needs heavy shielding anyway because of Galactic cosmic radiation and Solar flares, these are 3 Dimensional in nature thus need basically 360 deg shielding.

The radiation scare in outer space is way overblown.

First of all: Astronauts and cosmonauts have been messing around in space for almost 60 years, with long-duration missions happening ever since 1965 (Gemini 5 was the first manned spacecraft to orbit for a week straight). Since then it's just gone up, by the mid-1990's four Russian cosmonauts had spent more than a year each in space, in one go, without interruption. There are some others that have achieved similar total "on-orbit" times, but in their case it's been over several spaceflights, with some good "Earth-time" in between.

These guys and gals have flown through the van Allen radiation belts thousands of times, they've left Earth orbit altogether and gone to the Moon, they've experienced solar eruptions (vast amounts of high-energy EM radiation like X-rays and gamma rays always precede the waves of neutron-alpha-beta particle radiation, and they're practically "instant" and thus more or less unforseeable unlike the latter) outside of the Earth's protective atmosphere and on the fringes of its likewise protective magnetic field too.

It's not a biggie. They've got adequate shielding even on the ISS, even though they sometimes have to gather in some of the more protected modules during especially violent space weather.

The further from the Sun you go the less issues you get. Super-high energy cosmic gamma ray bursts are a potential problem, but they're a problem here on our planetary surface too, and no close energetic ones are expected (they typically come from dying stars, and we have a fair idea of possible future candidates that are close enough to matter to us). So cosmic radiation on an insterstellar mission should be no bigger of an issue than what our spacefarers since 1961 have experienced. Actually, once they leave the vicinity of the sun far less so, until they reach the Alpha Centauri system, where the good old "being close to a star" thing repeats itself again.

The radiation from the fuel/propulsion itself is no biggie either. Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, France and China all operate nuclear-powered submarines, where a bunch of people are stuck in a tin can, surrounded by a hostile environment, with a couple of nuclear reactors in the back of the vehicle keeping everything cozy. Live nuclear reactors have flown in space multiple times too (not counting the vast amount of RTGs, that aren't reactors but do contain nuclear fuels). Don't see how that'd be an issue. The potential issues in an Orion-type vehicle would be the blast power and heat acting on the pusher plate. Purely physical/mechanical stuff, not so much the radiation, as we know how to block that in a mobile, manned platform already.

But anyway, that all is just a hypothetical. We could possibly send a probe to the nearest star system, using some Orion-like contraption, and have it whizz by it in our lifetime. We could probably have done it 50 years ago, and reap the fruit of this mission just about now.

Well the one which really went outside the Van Allen Belt was Apollo. and its in days of duration. Rests of manned orbital space flight has been below the Van Allen belt and well within the protection of Earth's Magnetosphere. ISS, Soyuz, Skylab all long term human space habitation are within the field of Magnetosphere which provides the shield against space radiations. Mars flight would be a very different animal as it would goes beyond Earth and in the middle of nothing in between for months.
 

Rhinocrates

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Scraping the bottom of the barrel of my memory were, but while cost killed JIMO (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jupiter_Icy_Moons_Orbiter), one objection was that the vibration caused by the Stirling cycle (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirling_cycle) generator would be too upsetting to the instruments that required high stability. I can think of one way around this, which is that you use a reusable ion or plasma propelled nuclear tug that would in time return to transport more probes/orbiters using conventional RTGs. The problem with this is that it assumes continuing support for funding and exploration for decades, which is not considered in any current programme. It would be nice to see a programme to develop a small fleet of reusable deep space tugs using nuclear ion or plasma propulsion that could deliver orbiters to various locations about the solar system. Carry an orbiter to Jupiter, and a few years later it's back to pick up one to carry to Uranus, and a decade later it's ready to take one to Pluto. An idea that I humbly propose that would require assured long-term planning and funding. I applaud the concepts of laser-propelled chipsats, and while the infrastructure would be reusable, the thinking is still that missions are 'one-shot', not part of a continuing, sustained programme, and the concept is not scaleable to extend to crewed transport.
 
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Dr.Snufflebug

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Isn't nuclear reactor an Alpha and Beta emitter mainly ? These two are the most dangerous of ionizing radiation but easily stopped. There is Gamma one which need lead but i think for real long range space travel, one would needs heavy shielding anyway because of Galactic cosmic radiation and Solar flares, these are 3 Dimensional in nature thus need basically 360 deg shielding.

The radiation scare in outer space is way overblown.

First of all: Astronauts and cosmonauts have been messing around in space for almost 60 years, with long-duration missions happening ever since 1965 (Gemini 5 was the first manned spacecraft to orbit for a week straight). Since then it's just gone up, by the mid-1990's four Russian cosmonauts had spent more than a year each in space, in one go, without interruption. There are some others that have achieved similar total "on-orbit" times, but in their case it's been over several spaceflights, with some good "Earth-time" in between.

These guys and gals have flown through the van Allen radiation belts thousands of times, they've left Earth orbit altogether and gone to the Moon, they've experienced solar eruptions (vast amounts of high-energy EM radiation like X-rays and gamma rays always precede the waves of neutron-alpha-beta particle radiation, and they're practically "instant" and thus more or less unforseeable unlike the latter) outside of the Earth's protective atmosphere and on the fringes of its likewise protective magnetic field too.

It's not a biggie. They've got adequate shielding even on the ISS, even though they sometimes have to gather in some of the more protected modules during especially violent space weather.

The further from the Sun you go the less issues you get. Super-high energy cosmic gamma ray bursts are a potential problem, but they're a problem here on our planetary surface too, and no close energetic ones are expected (they typically come from dying stars, and we have a fair idea of possible future candidates that are close enough to matter to us). So cosmic radiation on an insterstellar mission should be no bigger of an issue than what our spacefarers since 1961 have experienced. Actually, once they leave the vicinity of the sun far less so, until they reach the Alpha Centauri system, where the good old "being close to a star" thing repeats itself again.

The radiation from the fuel/propulsion itself is no biggie either. Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, France and China all operate nuclear-powered submarines, where a bunch of people are stuck in a tin can, surrounded by a hostile environment, with a couple of nuclear reactors in the back of the vehicle keeping everything cozy. Live nuclear reactors have flown in space multiple times too (not counting the vast amount of RTGs, that aren't reactors but do contain nuclear fuels). Don't see how that'd be an issue. The potential issues in an Orion-type vehicle would be the blast power and heat acting on the pusher plate. Purely physical/mechanical stuff, not so much the radiation, as we know how to block that in a mobile, manned platform already.

But anyway, that all is just a hypothetical. We could possibly send a probe to the nearest star system, using some Orion-like contraption, and have it whizz by it in our lifetime. We could probably have done it 50 years ago, and reap the fruit of this mission just about now.

Well the one which really went outside the Van Allen Belt was Apollo. and its in days of duration. Rests of manned orbital space flight has been below the Van Allen belt and well within the protection of Earth's Magnetosphere. ISS, Soyuz, Skylab all long term human space habitation are within the field of Magnetosphere which provides the shield against space radiations. Mars flight would be a very different animal as it would goes beyond Earth and in the middle of nothing in between for months.

The Apollo missions were the only manned missions to go outside of it all, yes. Not the only missions with live animals to go beyond though, as for example Zond 5 flew animals to the moon and back, and recovered them in good health, too.

But the Van Allen belts aren't orderly distributed as in the popular illustrations, they're actually kind of warped and uneven due to perturbations in the Earth's magnetic field. The ISS and other manned spacecraft in history that have flown in regular Earth orbits do fly straight through the innermost belt every now and then, as it dips down quite a lot towards the surface. This phenomenon, popularly known as the "South Atlantic Anomaly" is a due to a geomagnetic region centered on southern Brazil that sucks the inner Van Allen belt towards the Earth, with the "tip" of the belt reaching as far down as a mere 200km above sea level. The ISS orbits at around 400km give or take (it varies somewhat due to atmospheric braking and occasional orbital boosts), so whenever it crosses that part it's a good 200km into the thick of said radiation belt.

Just saying.

When the ISS goes there, or when a violent solar eruption occurs, the crew gathers in the more well-shielded sections. So we already have that.

Also, as we've flown unmanned probes all over the solar system we do have a good idea about what kind of (nominal) radiation hazards are out there, and they're not particularly troublesome, really.
 

Orionblamblam

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even if you could somehow squeeze 40+ years of life support in an interstellar Orion-esque ship...

... you'd end up with your crew dying before they reached the Oort cloud. An Orion-type vessel would take a few thousand years to get to the next star, so using one as a manned starship seems a bit cruel.

nobody wants a bunch of nukes going off in quick succession in the atmosphere,

Sez you. Who wants a long string of nukes going on in the atmosphere? I DO.

bucket


What if an Orion vehicle blows up during take-off?

Then you end up with an inert chunk of iron falling from the sky, filled with pulse units that are less likely to explode than an autistic brick. These things would be tougher to blow up unintentionally than atomic artillery shells.
 

stealthflanker

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The Apollo missions were the only manned missions to go outside of it all, yes. Not the only missions with live animals to go beyond though, as for example Zond 5 flew animals to the moon and back, and recovered them in good health, too.

Yeah and animals and plants sent by Soviets to the moon are :

-Tortoises
-Fruit Flies
-Spiderworts

Well Tortoises are maybe like twice as hardened or at least this article claims that it can "man up" tens of thousands of Rems

Spiderworts are even known as a "Living geiger counter"

Like, can we really take them as representative to claim that "radiation isnt much of problem" ? Considering that they are already familiar and even more resistant to human to radiation exposure.

Maybe if they sent Dogs or cats or chimps, would be more representative.

Chinese sent Silkworms which can man up to 15000 Rem.


But the Van Allen belts aren't orderly distributed as in the popular illustrations, they're actually kind of warped and uneven due to perturbations in the Earth's magnetic field. The ISS and other manned spacecraft in history that have flown in regular Earth orbits do fly straight through the innermost belt every now and then, as it dips down quite a lot towards the surface. This phenomenon, popularly known as the "South Atlantic Anomaly" is a due to a geomagnetic region centered on southern Brazil that sucks the inner Van Allen belt towards the Earth, with the "tip" of the belt reaching as far down as a mere 200km above sea level. The ISS orbits at around 400km give or take (it varies somewhat due to atmospheric braking and occasional orbital boosts), so whenever it crosses that part it's a good 200km into the thick of said radiation belt.

Yeah and how long it took to cross the anomaly and then back to the safe haven of magnetosphere ? 6 months like Mars trip ?


Also, as we've flown unmanned probes all over the solar system we do have a good idea about what kind of (nominal) radiation hazards are out there, and they're not particularly troublesome, really.

Err then why this ?

 

tequilashooter

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nuclear propulsion is one area where the US is sorely lacking. If we're ever going to get to the outer planets with people, nuclear power will have to be placed in orbit.
Dont throw in the towel too fast. (PDF) Use of High-Power Brayton Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) for a 2033 Mars Round-Trip Mission (researchgate.net)

Also the talks of radiation here. Российские физики придумали новый материал для защиты от радиации - РИА Новости, 16.11.2020 (ria.ru)

Glass for radiation protection, which is three times more effective than existing analogues, was created by scientists of the Ural Federal University named after the first President of Russia B. N. Yeltsin (UrFU). The results are published in the journal Journal of Materials Research and Technology.
The so-called heavy glass, which includes compounds with a high atomic number, is used to protect personnel from radiation at nuclear and industrial facilities, laboratories and medical centers.

UrFU scientists investigated the radiation resistance of the glass of the prospective composition of xBi2O3-30B2O3-(65-x)ZnO-5BaO. According to them, the experiments showed excellent shielding properties of such glasses: mass easing factor, free mileage, a layer of ten-fold weakening and their other radiation characteristics exceed the parameters of materials traditionally used in radiation protection - concrete and lead.

"Our material has proven to be three times more effective at absorbing photod radiation than the similar "heavy" glass is common today. Accordingly, performing a comparable task, it can be three times thinner. This gives a number of advantages, including noticeable savings," said Maria Pyshkina, a researcher in the Department of Experimental Physics at UrFU.
 
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tequilashooter

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19.03.2021 (12:50)

Yesterday, the research center of M.V. Keldysh, which is part of Roscosmos, announced plans to conduct flight tests of new space ion engines between 2025 and 2030. The specific way of conducting the tests is still under discussion. The first fire tests of one of the prototypes were successfully conducted last summer.

The center has already developed and developed an ion rocket engine with a capacity of 200 w to 35 kW. In particular, we are talking about the prototype ID-200 CD, which was tested in June 2020. Foreign analogues, which are already in production, allow to provide a capacity of 450 to 3500 W with the category of DC (XIPS-13 and NSTAR in the USA and T-5 in the UK) and with ultra-high-frequency discharge capacity up to 750 W (production of Japan). Also on the market is the German ion engine RIT-10 with a high-frequency (radio frequency) discharge.
Separately, Russian developers mentioned that the preliminary development of the 100 kW engine is underway. "Hopefully we will fly around our products in 2025-2030," the Keldysh Center said.

Low-power engines are supposed to be used in small spacecraft in low orbits. Powerful ion engines are used in heavy transport systems. The planned lifespan of the ion engines is 15 years. But because the engine in the spacecraft is turned on for a relatively short time, it will obviously survive the spacecraft itself. Such engines can serve as a correction of orbit, as well as for long-range space missions.


Rosatom"State Science Center Russian Federation "Trinity The Institute of Innovative and Thermonuclear Research (TRINITY), which organized the relevant competitions, follows from open materials on the public procurement website.
As noted in the technical tasks, many countries are exploring the creation of automatic and manned interplanetary ships using high-powered electric rocket propulsion systems (ERDU). Practical developments have now been made on megawatt-class space-based nuclear reactors that can power such engines. The work ordered by TRINITI is aimed at creating laboratory models of the new generation of ion and hall engine with increased characteristics, which will be the basis for the creation of a cluster of high-power ERDU.

As noted in the technical tasks, the ion and hall engines now have the highest level of technical readiness and confirmed resource characteristics in tens of thousands of hours (both in ground and flight operations), but they have drawbacks. The main one is the power limit of the single engine, the removal of which requires fundamentally different approaches to the organization of work processes in engines and related scientific research. It is noted that at the moment the results of tests of the ion engine with a capacity of 35 kW with an expiration speed of 70 kilometers per second and efficiency of 75% are known.
 

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PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, Apr 18 - RIA Novosti. Plans for manned flights of Russian cosmonauts on Moonas well as missions to Mars discussed at a meeting with the Russian president Vladimir Putinwhich took place on The Day of Cosmonautics, April 12.
"Scheduled manned flights to the moon, missions to Mars" - announced on the air of the TV channel "Russia 1" in the program "Moscow. kremlin. Putin" in the story of Pavel Sarubin.
This is stated in the story about the meeting with the president.

It was also reported on the air that a transport and energy complex with a nuclear power propulsion system will be created for flights into deep space. Such installation has been developed in the country since 2010.
"The real design of this transport and energy module is already. I think it will be a breakthrough," the head of Roscosmos said on air. Dmitry Rogozin.

Nuclear "zevs"
He had previously reported that Russia the first elements of the space tug with a nuclear propulsion system have already been manufactured.
It has been reported that the nuclear tug for flights to the Moon and the planets of the solar system will be called "zevs" and the project itself is named "Nuklon".
Last year Roscosmos signed a contract worth 4.2 billion rubles for the development of the tug project - the work is scheduled to be completed by July 2024. According to the document, one of the first tasks of the tug could be the study of the moon. In the future, it will be needed for flights to Venus and Jupiter.
The Roscosmos Keldysh Center, together with the companies, is working on the engine Rosatoma. The use of a nuclear engine in spacecraft is being developed by another company of the rocket and space industry - KB "Arsenal". Earlier, the state corporation Roscosmos in one of its videos demonstrated the conceptual appearance of a new spacecraft with a nuclear power plant.
 

tequilashooter

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Just images on design layout of ion engines Rosatom ordered and some specs. https://naukatehnika.com/plazmennyj-raketnyj-dvigatel.html

plasma engine 1.JPG
plasma engine 2.JPG

As noted in the technical tasks, many countries are exploring the creation of automatic and manned interplanetary ships using high-powered electric rocket propulsion systems (ERDU). Practical developments have now been made on megawatt-class space-based nuclear reactors that can power such engines.

As noted in the technical tasks, the ion and hall engines now have the highest level of technical readiness and confirmed resource characteristics in tens of thousands of hours (both in ground and flight operations), but they have drawbacks. The main one is the power limit of the single engine, the removal of which requires fundamentally different approaches to the organization of work processes in engines and related scientific research. It is noted that at the moment the results of tests of the ion engine with a capacity of 35 kW with an expiration speed of 70 km/s and efficiency of 75% are known.

According to technical tasks, by the end of this year it is necessary to develop, manufacture and conduct tests of laboratory models of ion engine with a capacity of up to 20 kW and a hall engine with a capacity of up to 15 kW. The aim of the work is to test the basic technical solutions in order to ensure the creation of prototypes of plasma rocket engines with increased traction and specific momentum parameters. The Trinity Institute of Innovative and Thermonuclear Research is part of Rosatom's scientific division. He performs research in the field of controlled thermonuclear fusion, plasma physics, laser physics and technology. TRINITI's unique experimental stand base provides results of important scientific and applied importance.
 

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MOSCOW, May 22. / TASS /. The first mission of the Zeus transport and energy module (TEM) will take 50 months. This is stated in the presentation of the executive director of Roscosmos for promising programs and science Alexander Bloshenko, presented in the framework of the educational marathon "New Knowledge".

"50 months is the total duration of the mission," the presentation says.

Bloshenko said that the first flight is scheduled for 2030. "We have designed it now. Together with the Russian Academy of Sciences, we are calculating the ballistics of this flight, payloads," the executive director explained.

According to Bloshenko, the mission will begin on Earth, then it is planned to fly to the Moon, where the spacecraft will separate, then there will be a gravitational maneuver near Venus, where the spacecraft will also separate, then it will fly towards Jupiter and its satellites.

In December last year, it became known that Roskosmos and KB Arsenal signed a contract for the development of a preliminary design of the nuclear tug Nuclon, which will be used for flights into deep space. The contract value is over 4.17 billion rubles. It was concluded on December 10. July 28, 2024 is indicated as the expiration date for the execution of the contract.
 

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More and more ways of application are being found for the promising Russian space tug "Zeus". If earlier it was planned to use it for interplanetary travel and delivery of goods to the Moon, now its functionality has expanded somewhat.



So, earlier in the IC them. Keldysh said that the spacecraft could "illuminate" air targets directly from orbit, interacting with ground-based air defense systems. Recently, in the materials of KB "Arsenal" (one of the developers) it was indicated that "Zeus" could disable enemy satellites by means of a directed electromagnetic pulse or even "firing" a laser.


In addition, purely civilian functions are envisaged for advanced development. In particular, broadcasting and relaying, providing communications in hard-to-reach areas, as well as delivering goods to near and deep space on a commercial basis.


Recall that the development of a TEM-based space tug with a megawatt-class nuclear power plant started in 2010. By mid-2024, the preliminary design of the apparatus should be ready.


Flight tests of Zeus in orbit are scheduled for 2030. If the latter succeeds, the Russian nuclear space tug will go into series production.
 

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Got some good space pornographic images translated.

nuklon trans 1.JPG
nuklon trans 2.JPG
nuklon trans 3.JPG
nuklon trans 4.JPG
nuklon trans 5.JPG

As amazed as I am looking at the pictures I have more questions than answers. Original source states: trip to Earth's Moon, Venus orbit to release payload and to one of Jupiter's moon but that was stated by the Keldysh Center but the images above are stated by KB Arsenal, does this state they are two separate projects or a change of plans kind of project? The airshow might give more answers and details I think later.


Roscosmos proposed to build a nuclear power plant on Mars

Specialists of the enterprise "Roscosmos" KB "Arsenal" made a proposal to create a nuclear power plant at the future Russian base on Mars to supply the infrastructure with electricity, RIA Novosti reports with reference to the materials of the design bureau.

It is reported that the Martian nuclear power plant want to deliver to the orbit of Mars as part of the nuclear tug "Zeus", and then drop on the surface of the planet by parachute. After landing, there is a "use of nuclear power plants (nuclear power plant - ed.)" and "power supply of the Martian base".

In addition, the nuclear tug "Zeus", equipped with means of relaying signals and placed at the point of libration of the "Sun-Mars" system (equality of gravitational forces of these bodies), will allow to organize a "high-speed channel for transmitting information to Earth from the surface of Mars and spacecraft orbiting Mars."
 
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Yikes. Getting serious rocket/atomic punk off this design. Between this and the SpaceX Starship, I guess the future that never was has a chance of coming true.
 

tequilashooter

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Are these Nuklon and Zeus models made in the same scale?
no idea but have another photo.

1626745059906.png
Yikes. Getting serious rocket/atomic punk off this design. Between this and the SpaceX Starship, I guess the future that never was has a chance of coming true.
shhhh.... let them focus on the Sukhoi LTS, if they start putting their attention here its going to be a space race argument which I cant even help myself.
 

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The Keldysh Research Center (part of Roscosmos) plans to test a drop cooler-radiator for the Zeus nuclear tug on board the International Space Station (ISS) in 2024-2025. This was announced to TASS by the company's General Director Vladimir Koshlakov at the Army-2021 International Military-Technical Forum.

"In 2024-2025, an experiment is planned" – Koshlakov said, answering the question when the Kaplya-2 (Eng: Drop-2) experiment is planned.

According to the general director of the company, the project documentation has already been developed. Now the Keldysh Center is starting to produce models and scientific equipment for conducting experiments in the multi-purpose laboratory module "Nauka". The experiment, the CEO specified, is not a long one. "The droplet generation system will start working , and its efficiency and functionality on large-sized spacecraft will become clear" – he concluded.

In December last year, it became known that Roscosmos and Arsenal Design Bureau signed a contract for the development of an advance project of the nuclear tug "Nucleon", which will be used for flights to deep space. The contract value is more than 4.17 billion rubles. It was concluded on December 10. The end date of the contract execution is July 28, 2024.
 

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I thought the Russians were leaving the ISS... oh wait they won't, so forget it. :p
the timeframe completion date of the ROSS is almost on the same timeframe as they expect of the lunar station with the chinese which is like 2035. Its going to be a long time but I hope I will still be alive to see nuclear tugs being the norm on setting up bases further than Mars and on other planet moons.
 

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