February 24, 2010

Russia Funds its Nuclear Space Projects

Russia will allocate 500 million rubles ($16.7 million) for nuclear space projects this year. Over the next nine years Russia plans to invest at least 17 billion rubles (over $580 million).

Russia is pondering new applications for yet-to-be-built nuclear-powered spacecraft, including military satellites, nuclear power plants, and space tugs. Energia space corporation will be the prime developer.

Energia is also ready to design a space-based nuclear power station with a capacity of 150 to 500 KW with a service life of 10-15 years, to be initially placed on the moon or Mars.

Another prospective project, Lopota said, is a heavy space platform that would replace several telecommunication satellites, complete with a standalone nuclear power plant, rocket engines and advanced communication antennas. Such a platform would have a mass of around 20 tons, a service life of 10-15 years and could be built by 2018.

Energia is also working on a concept of a nuclear-powered space tug, which could more than halve satellite launching and orbiting costs.

Federal Space Agency Roscosmos director Anatoly Perminov previously said the development of Megawatt-class nuclear space power systems (MCNSPS) for manned spacecraft was crucial if Russia wanted to maintain a competitive edge in the space race, including the exploration of the moon and Mars

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