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    Russia: Space News and Discussion

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    Vladimir79
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    Russia: Space News and Discussion

    Post  Vladimir79 on Wed Aug 19, 2009 12:46 am

    Russia will launch 5 new satellites
    18.08.2009

    Enterprise Satellite Communications, a public satellite telecommunications operator in Russia, intends in the coming years to upgrade its orbital grouping of five heavy satellites.

    "The implementation is the" 4 +1 "means the creation of five spacecraft heavy class." Express-AM4 "is in production, signed a contract for the establishment of two spacecraft Express-AM5, and AM6-Express", has plans to aids Express-AM7 and AM8 Express "- informed the Acting Director General, Russian Satellite Communications Company Yuri Prokhorov.

    According to Interfax, the satellite "Express-AM8" will go into orbit, along with the Office Express-MD2. Same way in February 2009 launched the Express-AM44 and Express-MD1.

    "At the Express-AM8" prepared all technical documentation, determined face, understand the problem of its use. The satellite will meet the challenges in the area of Africa, the Atlantic and South America, "- said Prokhorov.

    Head of Satellite Communications Company also reported that sources of funding the creation of Express-MD2 "are under negotiation. "Financial support for the construction of this unit we will find. State enterprise" Space Communication ", and enlisted the financial resources will enable bank to implement this program," - said Prokhorov.

    After the restoration of the orbital grouping Satellite Communications Company intends to implement the new program development. "We must determine, based on world market trends in communications and broadcasting, where and how to develop our group after the completion phase of renewal," - concluded the head of the company.

    The concept of development of space communications specialists of Russia is developing a co-NII radio.

    Права на данный материал принадлежат Вести.Ru

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    Testing Russia's advanced space transportation system

    Post  Vladimir79 on Wed Sep 02, 2009 12:35 pm

    Testing Russia's advanced space transportation system in an unmanned version would begin in 2015, manned - in 2018
    01/09/2009

    MOSCOW, August 31. (ITAR-TASS). Testing Russia's advanced space transportation system (PKTS) in an unmanned version would begin in 2015, manned - in 2018. Starting PKTS ships will be scheduled from Baikonur in eastern Amur region. Told in an article published in the weekly "Industry", Deputy General Designer of RSC Energia, the chief designer of manned systems Nikolai Bryukhanov.

    "Tests of the spacecraft in an unmanned version is scheduled to begin in 2015, and in manned - in 2018 - said the chief designer. - At this point the ship should be a key element of Russia's manned space flight."

    According Bryukhanova, "the system will consist of a base manned spacecraft and a few modifications, built on its basis." Basic version - manned transport craft a new generation, - explained the representative of RCM. - It is designed to service the orbiting station - they deliver crew and cargo and then return to Earth, as well as for use as a crew return vehicle.

    In RCM expects that the modifications of the ship will solve specialized tasks, such as flights to the Moon, maintenance and repair of satellites in low earth orbits, long-term - up to a month - autonomous flights to various studies and experiments, as well as delivery and return of the increased quantity of goods in unmanned gruzovozvraschaemom version.

    Права на данный материал принадлежат ИТАР-ТАСС

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    Russian Earth Observation, Weather satellites:

    Post  Vladimir79 on Sat Nov 20, 2010 5:01 pm

    Broke down Russian satellite


    Russia's only high-resolution satellite Resurs-DK1 "out of order. As reported by Interfax, the unit stopped working a few systems and it can no longer be used for other purposes. "As far as I know, official documents have not yet been." Resurs-DK1 "no longer works" - said the deputy director of RDC, which provides services to satellite imagery of the Earth, Olga Gershenson.

    A source in the space industry said that experts now TsSKB Progress "are trying to fix the unit. Resurs-DK1 "launched into space June 15, 2006 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome for remote sensing in the visible spectrum. Transmitted to the device information is used for mapping natural resources, environmental monitoring, tracking, emergency and some research. Expected lifetime of the satellite is three years.

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    Russia plans 50 space launches, 10 ICBM launches in 2011

    Post  Ogannisyan8887 on Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:00 pm

    Russia plans 50 space launches, 10 ICBM launches in 2011


    2011-01-03



    Rocket launch at Plesetsk (mil.ru)


    Russia plans to conduct about 50 space launches from three launching pads and 10 combat training and test launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles in 2011, Voice of Russia reports.

    The International Space Station program provides for ten launches, including four manned missions and six flights cargo ships from Baikonur, Voice of Russia reports. In addition, Russia plans launches of Glonass-M satellites, a telecommunication satellite and a number of military satellites.

    As BarentsObserver reported, Russia planned to launch a Glonass-K satellite from the Plesetsk Space Center in Arkhangelsk Oblast on December 28, but the launch was postponed until 2011 because the ground complex was not fully prepared to navigate the spacecraft, RIA Novosti reports.

    Thirty one space launches were carried out in 2010.

    Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces plan to carry out ten intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) combat training and test launches in 2011, Voice of Russia reports, citing the Ministry of Defense.

    In 2010, Russian rocket forces had a total of five ICBM launches, including two successful tests of RS-12M Topol missiles.

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    Re: Russia: Space News and Discussion

    Post  GarryB on Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:39 pm

    I have read that when they launch satellites into geostationary orbits from the Plesetsk cosmodrome they have to slingshot the satellite around the moon to get it into the right orbit because of the northerly position of the launch site.

    Increases in launches will be good.

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    COSMOS Question Thread

    Post  nightcrawler on Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:58 am

    Here is my first entry


    I need some clarification regarding the following sentence
    This shows the evolution of the UR-500 space launch vehicle. For many years, Westerners believed that the clustered modules of the first stage were strap-on boosters. These were in fact only propellant tanks and not self-contained stages
    Ambiguity of this sentence is the word self-contained stages; isn't this very word also mean strap-on boosters ??
    Also by saying only tanks does that mean that the main engine was inside missile body & then surely the rear end of these tanks wouldn't have any nozzles protruding out; though I don't have any clear image about it

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    Re: Russia: Space News and Discussion

    Post  GarryB on Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:12 pm

    These external tanks are like the large centre tank on the Space Shuttle... they carry fuel but have no engine at their base... the fuel is fed into the central rocket vehicle and it burns the fuel... just like drop tanks on a conventional aircraft.

    It is just a clever way of carrying extra fuel without adding length... when the tanks are empty explosive bolts will likely fire at the top end of them and then the bottom to release them from the rocket and they will fall back and burn up as they reenter the atmosphere.

    The sentence is not ambiguous, just poorly constructed.

    For many years, Westerners believed that the clustered modules of the first stage were strap-on boosters. These were in fact only propellant tanks and not self-contained stages

    In other words because they didn't know any better they assumed the tanks were strap on boosters.
    They now know that they are just propellent tanks... if they were booster rockets they would be self contained stages of the rocket... ie the booster stage that would burn on lift off with the first stage main engines.

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    Re: Russia: Space News and Discussion

    Post  GarryB on Sun Jan 16, 2011 2:10 pm

    Nice.

    Together with the nuclear engined Space Tug they are developing this could be a very interesting combination.

    One of the uses of the nuclear engined space tug was to clean up some of the space junk in orbit, but towing a spaceship to the Moon or even Mars could be other jobs assigned to it.

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    Re: Russia: Space News and Discussion

    Post  Andy_Wiz on Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:49 am

    BULL**** russia In Soviet Russia satellites put itselves out of the orbit...(Some jewish woman said that)

    The sattelite seems to be OK, there was a scare as it was sinking down itno lower LEO so they had to FLY it up a bit(and shook up that heap of junk a bit:lol: ) It is explained on novosti-kosmonavtiki forum...
    Manufacturers press release - Samspace

    If it brooke down on 11.19 how it could have been making photos of Chinese shipyards etc. up till 3.12

    lol!

    Here you go - http://www.ntsomz.ru/news/news_center/rdk21112010

    Anyway no official confirmation yet... VPK.NAMe is trashy source TBH/ dunno




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    Re: Russia: Space News and Discussion

    Post  Andy_Wiz on Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:16 am

    OOps people on spacenews forum say that it seems because it went so high up its resolution got f***ed up... I can't say if its true you may compare the photos in previous post link to this one -



    (It is a Sayano-Shushenskaya Dam that had a disaster in 2009)

    However I suspect that better resolution photographs are classified..

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    Re: Russia: Space News and Discussion

    Post  GarryB on Tue Jan 18, 2011 7:34 am

    That is good news Andy.

    By the way... clarification of adjusting orbits... the orbit height of an object in earth orbit is determined by its speed. The faster it goes the higher its orbit till eventually it stops falling back into orbit and leaves earth completely.

    If the orbit was too low and they fired rocket thrusters to climb the satellite would indeed go up... but then it would fall back down because it doesn't have the speed to maintain the higher orbital path.

    If a satellite gets too low and starts to scuff the atmosphere the extra drag slows it down even faster and it will reenter the earths atmosphere.

    Thanks for the positive news.

    Hoof: regarding the space tug 99% of the tug that needs development is the nuclear propulsion which the Russian government said it was spending some time ago. Once developed the new engines will operate for months, so while they are not as powerful as chemical rockets they will burn continuously for most of the trip.

    For orbital tug it will likely approach targets from behind to catch up with them gradually so it can grab the failed satellite and take it to the ISS for repair or inspection, or for older satellites it could throw them directly at earth where they will hit the atmosphere at a steep angle at very high speed and burn up in the atmosphere, or if it is too heavy it could break bits off and fire them straight down for burn up.
    Just speeding up and slowing down to change height and manoeuvring left or right to get things on different orbits it could operate for decades on nuclear propulsion.

    For a trip to the moon or mars however is where they will shine... a conventional 3 stage rocket will burn for a total of less than 20-30 minutes and once you reach your top speed that is the speed that you will keep travelling at in zero gs all the way to where you are going. When you get near your destination you need to use more rocket power to slow down and enter orbit of the destination, but after burning off all that fuel to leave earths orbit the craft will be much lighter so less fuel will be needed.
    With a nuclear rocket after 30 minutes after launch you will be travelling at a mere fraction of the speed of a chemical rocket... but by the end of the week you will likely be travelling faster and the next week much faster still. Because it is not as powerful you will also need to slow down earlier so the nuclear rocket will be operating all the way to the destination... which means the craft wont be operating at zero g, though 1g acceleration would be very unlikely... it might be 0.1g which at least makes things easier.
    With zero g you need fans going all the time otherwise the air would not circulate and you could suffocate if you stayed in one place too long is just one example of the problems of zero g.

    Ohh... that will would be great for snatching few of those US military satellites...

    You are getting more American all the time... only an American would think of doing that. I guess that is what keeps them where they are.

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    Re: Russia: Space News and Discussion

    Post  Hoof on Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:46 pm

    GarryB wrote:
    Ohh... that will would be great for snatching few of those US military satellites...

    You are getting more American all the time... only an American would think of doing that. I guess that is what keeps them where they are.

    Haha... how can i get more American ? its snatching American satellites i'm talking about XD I'm Russian-American BTW lol

    There isnt anything wrong with stealing other country's technologies... how you think soviets got their first intercontinental bomber and plans for first nuclear bomb ? =)

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    Re: Russia: Space News and Discussion

    Post  GarryB on Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:16 pm

    Actually if it wasn't for the ANT-25 flying 9,000km non stop from Russia to the US there wouldn't have been a B-29.

    When the ANT-25 landed the US congress were just about to cancel the B-17 because it wasn't deemed necessary.

    And the first nuclear bomb was created on US territory, but was the product of the best minds of the time from dozens of countries around the world.

    its snatching American satellites i'm talking about XD I'm Russian-American BTW lol

    I know... what I meant was that Russia would have done rather better if she was a bit more ruthless and underhanded like the US is.

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    Accessing the planets largest energy source

    Post  Pervius on Sun Jul 24, 2011 4:36 pm

    In 1992 the United States conducted 2 experiments with it's Space Shuttle to release a tethered satellite to study if energy could be received.

    Scientists quit calling the Van Allen belt... radiation and now call it electrons. It's known it releases large amounts of energy to the Earth at times...

    Well look at what they are working on again (Look at the Jan 11, 2011):



    http://www.tethers.com/News.html

    New Zealand was against a US Defense plan awhile ago to use such a tether to get rid of Radiation Belt energy...and funnel it to the Earth's atmosphere to save US Satellites...

    What say you Garry? Is New Zealand protesting the US Air Force contract to Penn State University to continue with the project? It's not about power generation, everyone knows you can get power from the radiation belts.....the US plans to use the tether to protect it's satellites.

    Say if China sets off a nuclear bomb in space, causing another radiation belt....the tether would take the radiation and funnel it to the Earth's atmosphere as energy....could potentially create a very deadly weapon in itself.

    www.physics.otago.ac.nz/space/RBR_Media_release_8Aug06.htm

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    Re: Russia: Space News and Discussion

    Post  GarryB on Mon Jul 25, 2011 10:40 am

    First of all lets get a few things straight... the Van Allen belts is a magnetic field around the Earth... that is no real secret because that is what makes compasses work on earth.

    The Earth is a large magnet with a north pole and a south pole and a magnetic field of electrons streaming from one pole to the other externally and in the opposite direction internally to form a complete circuit.

    The Van Allen belt is the electron paths moving down from the South pole out into space and out around the earth and back into the North Pole. These streams of electrons absorb radiation and therefore form a shield for the earth to protect the earth from some of the radiation types spewing out from the sun at 900km/s (which is the speed of the solar wind) or faster.

    If there is serious solar activity sometimes the ionised particles can hit the polar regions and travel down the electron paths and when they enter the atmosphere they light up and create what are called the northern and southern lights (at each pole respectively). Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis are their technical names.

    The idea for tethers is pretty simple... coil up some copper wire and then move a magnet through it and it will generate a small current. Hang a wire down from a satellite and as it passes through the magnetic field of the earth it generates rather large currents of free electricity.

    The tether in this case however is most likely for use for grounding certain satellites so they can withstand the electro magnetic pulse generated by a nuclear explosion in the upper atmosphere.

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    Re: Russia: Space News and Discussion

    Post  Vladimir79 on Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:20 am

    Russian Progress space freighter lost

    An unmanned freighter launched to the International Space Station (ISS) has been lost.

    The Russian space agency said the Progress M-12M cargo ship was not placed in the correct orbit by its rocket and fell back to Earth. The vessel was carrying three tonnes of supplies for the ISS astronauts. With the retirement of the US space shuttle, there is now a critical reliance on robotic freighters to keep the station supplied.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14653371

    Let's see... this is the 4th failed launch in the last year with 6 lost payloads. Our space programme is unraveling at the seems.

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    Re: Russia: Space News and Discussion

    Post  GarryB on Thu Aug 25, 2011 3:04 pm

    No your space program is not unravelling at the seams, and hopefully your government doesn't start punitive firings because of it.

    The simple fact is that accidents are more often grouped rather than evenly spread out over time.

    AFAIK this is the first failure of a Soyuz cargo rocket... and considering they have been using them longer than some posters here have been alive I think that is a pretty good record.

    Flying into space is difficult and dangerous... even with the unfortunate loss of two shuttles and more importantly their crews the shuttle still has a reasonably good safety record too.

    The point is that if this had been a manned launch the crew would likely have survived as the module is designed for reentry. The cargo module on the other hand is filled with goodies and air and water for the space station, which they leave attached as a resource bay and then start filling it up with rubbish that is no longer needed on the station... when it is full or that access connection is needed they simply release it and it burns up on reentry.

    The only problem they have had with them in all the years of operation was when one was overloaded and this wouldn't have been a problem if it wasn't for the fact that ground control had decided that this mission would be manually controlled instead of the normal automatic docking. Because the craft was overweight they brought it in too fast and the thrusters could not slow it enough and it collided with the space station (MIR).

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    Re: Russia: Space News and Discussion

    Post  Vladimir79 on Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:04 pm

    There is an endemic failure of third stages

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    Re: Russia: Space News and Discussion

    Post  GarryB on Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:21 pm

    Which is much better than a different reason for each.

    This will likely lead to a shake up in processes and procedures, but it is important to keep in mind nobody is dead.

    Part of doing is learning... if failure is not acceptable... don't do anything and you will never fail at it.

    The huge list of countries that could leap into Russias shoes and offer a lower cost delivery system to the ISS clearly shows this is not easy even if it has been made to look so for so many years by the Russians and NASA.

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    Re: Russia: Space News and Discussion

    Post  fredleander on Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:17 am

    Funny, as far as I can see nothing has been announced on this here in Scandinavia.

    Fred

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    Re: Russia: Space News and Discussion

    Post  GarryB on Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:27 am

    If tests take too long and the ISS can't be resupplied on time and the current occupants need to vacate the station then it might make international news.

    I don't think it will come to that.

    Knowing western news agencies they wont bother mentioning anything unless it is negative towards Russia... then they wont shut up about it, so I suppose not mentioning the failure might signal and improvement?

    Or am I being too hopeful.

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    space news

    Post  Pervius on Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:52 am

    GarryB wrote:If tests take too long and the ISS can't be resupplied on time and the current occupants need to vacate the station then it might make international news.

    I don't think it will come to that.

    Knowing western news agencies they wont bother mentioning anything unless it is negative towards Russia... then they wont shut up about it, so I suppose not mentioning the failure might signal and improvement?

    Or am I being too hopeful.



    Economic/Psychological Warfare has many different faces. Maybe it's not on the US news because.....US made it fail. How would they gain from that?

    Justify keeping US Space Shuttles? Justify more US spending? Waste Russian $$$.



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    Russia to Build Nuclear Space Engine by 2017

    Post  GarryB on Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:14 pm

    Russia to Build Nuclear Space Engine by 2017

    A Russian Megawatt-class nuclear propulsion system for long-range manned spacecraft must be ready by 2017, Skolkovo Foundation's Nuclear Cluster head Denis Kovalevich said on Wednesday.

    “At present we are testing several types of fuel and later we will start drafting the design,” Kovalevich said. “The first parts [of the nuclear engine] should be built in 2013, and the engine is expected to be ready by 2017.”

    The engine is being developed for interplanetary manned spacecraft to ensure that Russia maintains a competitive edge in the space race, including the exploration of the Moon and Mars.

    The Russian government allocated 500 million rubles ($16.7 million) in 2010 to start a project to build a spacecraft with a nuclear engine. The overall investment in the project is estimated at 17 billion rubles (over $580 million) until 2019.

    According to Russia’s nuclear power agency Rosatom, the development and construction of a nuclear propulsion system for spacecraft will cost over 7.2 billion rubles ($247 mln).

    NASA started a program to develop a nuclear propulsion system in 2003, and spent several hundred million dollars on the project before cutting funding.

    Russian space officials believe that nuclear engines for interplanetary spaceships are a very promising area, as solar power is too weak to be used as a power source at distances beyond Earth's orbit.


    source http://en.rian.ru/science/20120328/172442924.html

    Having a nuclear powered rocket means a rocket that can run all the way to the destination which is very very important.

    First of all it makes life easier onboard the space craft as instead of an enormous shove by several minutes of rocket thrust and then coasting most of the way to the destination followed by several minutes of rocket thrust to slow down and enter orbit of the body you are flying too, you get a constant push all the way which in some ways simulates a micro gravity. Accelerating for months instead of minutes means that two space craft traveling to Mars with one using nuclear power and one using a conventional liquid fueled rocket means that initially the normal rocket will blast away ahead of the nuclear rocket, but it will reach a top speed and then just coast at that speed, while the nuclear rocket will gradually catch up and then accelerate past the other ship and may get to the destination months earlier and burning a small fraction of the fuel needed by the other rocket to accelerate and then slow down again. This means a lot less fuel is needed which makes the ship smaller and lighter and weight is critical as you will need to take a lot of stuff.

    Ideally for the first manned trip to Mars you will want to have landed spacecraft there already that has robots that go out and find water and extract it and store it ready to be used either for drinking water, breathable air, or separating the oxygen and the hydrogen for rocket fuel.

    By the time you send people there you should have enough water there to immediately take off and come home again if that is necessary.

    For shorter trips like the moon it will be much more efficient to use than a conventional chemical rocket and could be sent up to deal with space debris orbiting the earth... the material could be fused into hockey puck sized lumps of material and launched directly into the atmosphere to burn up on reentry.

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    Re: Russia: Space News and Discussion

    Post  GarryB on Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:17 pm

    Plutonium to Pluto: Russian nuclear space travel breakthrough

    A ground-breaking Russian nuclear space-travel propulsion system will be ready by 2017 and will power a ship capable of long-haul interplanetary missions by 2025, giving Russia a head start in the outer-space race.

    The megawatt-class nuclear drive will function for up to three years and produce 100-150 kilowatts of energy at normal capacity.

    The new project proposes the use of an electric ion propulsion system. The engines exhaust thrust will be generated by an ion flow, which is further accelerated by an electric field. The nuclear reactor will therefore “supply” the necessary amount of electric power without unwanted radioactive contamination of the environment.

    Xenon will serve as propellant for the engines.

    It is under development at Skolkovo, Russia’s technology innovation hub, whose nuclear cluster head Denis Kovalevich confirmed the breakthrough to Interfax. "At present we are testing several types of fuel and later we will start drafting the design," he said.

    While the engine is expected to be fully assembled by 2017 the accompanying craft will not be ready before 2025 former head of Roscosmos, Anatoly Perminov, told Interfax.

    Scientists expect to start putting the new engine through its paces in operational tests as early as 2014.

    The Russian government began the ambitious project in 2010 with an investment of approximately $17 million dollars and is expected to shell out $247 million over the next five years to complete the engine.

    ­Contractors:
    NIKIET (Research and Design Institute of Power Engineering, open joint-stock company, subsidiary of Russia’s state-run nuclear corporation Rosatom) – main design office for the reactor
    Energia (Korolyov Rocket and Space Corporation)
    Kurchatov Institute (National Research Centre)
    Keldysh Research Center (Federal State Unitary Enterprise)
    Funds:
    Total cost of nuclear propulsion system: over US $247 million
    Total project budget: over US $580 million through 2019

    The idea of using a nuclear propulsion system to power space missions is not altogether new. It came about in the 1960s and was the brainchild of three Russian academics, Mstislav Keldysh, Igor Kurchatov and Sergey Korolev in the Soviet Union.

    Research into the field was subsequently carried out not only in the Soviet Union, but also in the US, although with a view to creating a new weapon rather than the advancement of space travel.

    The stumbling block that has faced scientists over the last couple of years is that as a craft travels further away from the sun’s rays, solar energy weakens and cannot produce the necessary energy to power electric engines through its solar panels.

    Nuclear power has generally been considered a valid alternative to fossil fuels to power space craft, as it is the only energy source capable of producing the enormous thrust needed for interplanetary travel.

    NASA embarked on a project to develop a nuclear engine capable of powering a space craft, but funding was cut in 2003.

    The revolutionary propulsion system falls in line with recently announced plans for Russia to conquer space. Last month, the Russian Federal Space Agency released its ambitious scheme to explore our solar system in the coming years. Entitled Space Development Strategies up to 2030, Russia aims to send probes to Mars, Jupiter, and Venus, as well as establish a series of bases on the moon.

    source http://rt.com/news/space-nuclear-engine-propulsion-120/

    This is good news as it confirms they are basically talking about ion propulsion rather than the quackery coming from some western scientists. Some scientists in the British interplanetary society suggested a nuclear powered space ship that uses a huge sail and a gun that fires nuclear bombs that explode and "blow" the sail to propel the vessel. Of course they never say what material this sail is made of that can withstand the temperature of a nuclear blast and wont rip or simply vapourise with the first blast that also destroys the ship...

    Ion propulsion on the other hand is much more sensible.

    Ion propulsion uses electric fields to accelerate small charged particles to incredibly high speed, which when directed apply a propulsive force. On the ground in the earths atmosphere you might feel the ion material as a faint breeze, but in space a big enough system with a particle accelerator designed to maximise the speed of the particles you might get an acceleration force of one 100th of gravity on earth... which compared to the 3-4 g force of a rocket for several minutes might sound pathetic, but it is the duration that is critical. The ion engine can operate for months or years at a time whereas even the biggest rocket will burn out in tens of minutes.

    The velocity of an object in space is directly related to the ejection speed of the material used to propel the spaceship. In theory an ion propulsion system could operate for years using 4-5kgs of "fuel", with an exhaust speed perhaps 30% the speed of light or more with the help of a particle accelerator... which would just need to be a ring shaped magnetic field the ion particles can be accelerated around a couple of hundred times before expelling them out the rear of the spaceship.

    The main problem is the low relative thrust so a quick change in direction would need a conventional rocket or gas thruster... in a very long trip like Mars or even to another star the engine would be operating all the way with it accelerating it towards its destination for the first half of the trip and slowing it down for the second half as it would need as much time to slow down as it would to speed up.

    The huge irony is that there is probably no point in sending a probe to a nearby star as in 50 years time the probe will likely not be any more than half way and in 50 years time the improvement in technology will mean a new probe sent would probably blast past the first probe and beat it to its destination.

    Even more ironic is if we sent a slow probe now and in 60 years time with new developments in technology we are able to send people to a newly discovered planet and the people get to the new planet before the old probe does...

    Still that first star trek movie is still one of my favourites Smile

    TR1
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    Elektro-L images

    Post  TR1 on Sun May 13, 2012 5:28 pm

    http://gizmodo.com/5909215/this-is-the-definitive-photograph-of-planet-earth

    Pretty neat photo.

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