Russia plans to launch a nuclear spacecraft that can move from the moon to Jupiter

With the launch of the Soyuz rocket, Ford, Nowitzki and Tarrelkin will take part in a five-month mission on the International Space Station.
  • Russia manufactures nuclear spacecraft capable of transporting heavy cargo in deep space.

  • The spacecraft will be launched in 2030 on a mission to Jupiter.

  • Russia finally wants to build a nuclear space station using similar technology.

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Russia plans to send nuclear spacecraft in the order of Moon, Venus, and Jupiter.

Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, Announced on Saturday The “space tugboat” (a spacecraft term that transports astronauts or equipment from one orbit to another) is scheduled to be launched in an interplanetary mission in 2030.

The spacecraft’s energy module, named “Zeus,” is designed to generate enough power to propel heavy cargo through deep space. It is essentially a mobile nuclear power plant.

Some countries are looking at similar technologies as a way to shorten space travel. Spacecraft now rely on solar power or gravity to accelerate. However, that means that it can take more than three years for astronauts to make a round-trip visit to Mars. NASA is a nuclear spacecraft Cut a year from that timeline..

The United States hopes to install a nuclear power plant (a 10-kilowatt reactor integrated with a lunar module) on the moon as early as 2027. But so far, NASA sent only one reactor into space by satellite in 1965. Other spacecraft, such as Mars’s curiosity and patience rover, are also nuclear, but do not use nuclear reactors.

Meanwhile, Russia has introduced more than 30 nuclear reactors into space. It is the “Zeus” module, which uses a 500 kW reactor to advance these efforts by propelling itself from one planet to the next. According to Russian national news agency Sputnik..

In the mission plan, the spacecraft first approaches the moon and then to Venus. Venus can use the gravity of the planet to turn towards its final destination, Jupiter. It helps to save propellant.

According to Alexander Bloshenko, executive director of long-term programs and science at Roscosmos, the entire mission will last for 50 months (a little over four years). In a presentation in Moscow on Saturday, Broschenko said Roscosmos and the Russian Academy of Sciences are still working on the ballistics of flight, or orbit, and the amount of weight it can carry. Told.

The mission could ultimately herald a new frontier in Russian spaceflight: Sputnik report Russia is designing a space station that uses the same nuclear technology.

Nuclear energy is better than solar power in space

Nuclear heat promotion Nasa

The concept of a NASA spacecraft using nuclear heat propulsion. NASA

Most spacecraft get their energy from several energy sources, such as the sun, batteries, or unstable atoms called radioisotopes.

For example, NASA’s Juno spacecraft on Jupiter uses solar panels to generate electricity. Photovoltaics can also be used to charge a spacecraft’s battery, but as the spacecraft moves away from the sun, its energy source capacity diminishes. In other cases, lithium batteries can help power shorter missions on their own. For example, the Huygens probe used a battery in 2005 to make a short landing on Saturn’s moon Titan.

NASA’s Twin Voyager spacecraft use radioisotopes (sometimes called “atomic batteries”) to withstand the harsh environments outside the solar system and in the interstellar space, which means that they are equipped with nuclear reactors. Not the same.

Reactors have several advantages. It can withstand the cold and dark areas of the solar system without the need for sunlight. It is also reliable over the long term. The “Zeus” reactor is designed to last 10 to 12 years. In addition, they can propel spacecraft to other planets in less time.

However, nuclear power also has its challenges. Only certain types of fuels, such as highly enriched uranium, can withstand the very high temperatures of a nuclear reactor-and they may not be safe to use. In December, the United States banned the use of highly enriched uranium to propel objects into space when missions were possible with other nuclear fuels or non-nuclear power sources.

Russia is preparing for a nuclear space station

Soyuz MS17 .JPG

The ISS crew, Sergei Kud Svelchkov, landed in a remote area of ​​Kazakhstan on April 17, 2021. NASA / Bill Ingalls / Reuters

Russian engineers started developing the “Zeus” module in 2010 with the goal of getting it on track within 20 years. They are on track to meet that standard.

Engineers started manufacturing and testing prototypes in 2018, Sputnik report..Roscosmos too Signed a contract Last year’s value 4.2 billion rubles ($ 57.5 million) As a result, Arsenal, a design company based in St. Petersburg, was in charge of the preliminary design.

This technology has the potential to support Russia’s efforts to develop new space stations by 2025. BBC Report last month That year, Russia plans to break its ties with the International Space Station, which it shares with the United States, Japan, Europe and Canada.

Russia launched the ISS in 1998 in collaboration with the United States.But Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov Last month, he told state television channel Russia 1. The state of the ISS is that “many things are desired.” Indeed, the station recently experienced an air leak, Failure of the oxygen supply system..

NASA allowed the ISS to fly At least until 2028, But the agency is probably Take off the track of the station In the next 10 to 15 years.

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