March 09, 2011

Koroteev at the heart of Russia's Megawatt nuclear reactor for space plans

The role of space power in solving prospective problems in the interests of global safety, science and social economic sphere by А.S. Koroteev President of Russian Academy of Cosmonautics 2010 (19 pages)

The presentation discusses nuclear power sources for space up to 1 megawatt for flying to Mars, moon base power and for orbital tugs.

Koroteev also wrote "New stage in the use of atomic energy in space "

A qualitatively new stage in the development and practical application of atomic energy in space is linked with the use of multipurpose high-capacity propulsion-power modules. Their design based on a nuclear powered propulsion facility in the megawatt range has been approved and accepted for implementation. In this article, the facility is described, the principles of operation of the facility as a whole and its individual subsystems are examined, and the proposed characteristics and mass of the structural elements are presented. The advantages of using atomic energy in the power-plant–motor variant, including for manned flight to Mars, are shown.

Russia is looking closely at plasma thrusters as well

A forum on space suggests that Koroteev discussed a plasma rocket development timeline (but the original link is broken)

* hybrid two-contour scheme, a plasma generator driven by reactor-produced electricity yields specific impulse 20 times higher than chemical propulsion
* inner contour of the reactor with circulating working agent at 1500 C
* development started in 2010
* plans to complete initial design by 2012
* prototype working by 2015
* cargo module ready for flight in 2018

Bigger Russian nuclear space designs

In 2008, Open-cycle multi-megawatt MHD space nuclear power facility

The results of calculations of the characteristics and development of a scheme and technical make-up of an open-cycle space power facility based on a high-temperature nuclear reactor for a nuclear rocket motor and a 20 MW Faraday MHD generator are presented. A heterogeneous channel-vessel IVG-1 reactor, which heated hydrogen to 3100 K, with the pressure at the exit from the reactor core up to 5 MPa, burn rate 5 kg/sec, and thermal power up to 220 MW is examined. The main parameters of the MHD generator are determined: Cs seed fraction 20%, stopping pressure at the entrance 2 MPa, electric conductivity ≈ 30 S/m, Mach number ≈ 0.7, magnetic induction 6 T, electric power 20 MW, specific energy extraction ∼4 MJ/kg. The construction of the scheme of a MHD facility with zero-moment exhaust of the working body and its main characteristics are presented.

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