Breakthrough In Quest for Nuclear-Powered Spacecraft

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posted on Oct, 25 2012 @ 05:38 PM
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indrus.in


The dream of Sergei Korolev, Wernher von Braun and their predecessors to design a powerful engine for long-term space flight missions may soon come true. Roscosmos Head Vladimir Popovkin has announced that the engineering prototype of a megawatt-class nuclear propulsion unit for outer space missions will be developed in Russia in 2017.

Bench tests of a reactor for a nuclear-powered spacecraft may start in Sosnovy Bor near St Petersburg as early as next year. In June 2010, then-President Dmitry Medvedev issued an instruction backing the project of a space transport and power module based on a megawatt-class nuclear power installation.

The president promised 17 billion roubles to implement the project in 2010–2018, 7.245 billion roubles of which were earmarked for Rosatom to build the reactor. The M. V. Keldysh Research Centre will receive 3.955 billion roubles to create the nuclear propulsion unit, and the remaining 5.8 billion roubles will be used to finance the design of the transport and power module by the Rocket and Space Corporation (RKK) Energia.


I'm afraid this is all we have to look foreword to now. Nasa and the USA falls behind, while Russia comes to the forefront in space. It's bad enough that we have to rely on Russia to get our personnel up to the ISS.

Now this?

We should be hanging our heads in shame.




posted on Oct, 25 2012 @ 06:09 PM
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I wonder how much air they will be able to carry on the type of ship that this would power.

And maybe we should be proud of the achievements of our fellow humans instead.



posted on Oct, 25 2012 @ 06:11 PM
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reply to post by mikemck1976
 

Hmmm.... Now... I wonder.... Russia is talking about popping up with game changing nuclear technology geared in a new direction and radically powerful in terms of changing strategic balance. I mean if Russia can suddenly pop on out to Saturn or Jupiter or further in the time it would take US to get to the moon.....IF we hadn't cancelled the idea of even trying..then they own Space for all intents and purposes. Their long term success and experience with Mir should remove any questions as to their ability in this area, IMO.

You know what though.... One of Russia's closer allies in the world seems to be up to odd and craaaazy things with what the whole world knows without debating, are arrays of very advanced and capable centerfuges and other equipment aimed at producing fuel to order at an unprecedented level.

Now... If I were at a place like ATS...I might suggest one had relation to the other....but naww... It's weapons. Always thinking weapons.. lol..
I've wondered for awhile...and now I wonder if this is a BIG piece of a confusing puzzle. Talk about GAME changer.



posted on Oct, 25 2012 @ 07:16 PM
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The hot gas from the reactor spins the turbine and the turbine spins the generator and the compressor, which provides the closed circuit circulation of the propellant.
A closed cycle turbine system using "hot gas"? How does "hot gas" spin a turbine? There's a reason steam is used in generators instead of "hot gas".



The generator produces electricity for the plasma engine with a specific thrust 20 times higher than that in a chemical engine.

That's a pretty strong claim for something that hasn't been built. It's going to take a lot of power to generate enough electricity to get that much thrust out of an ion drive.

Either the article really messed up the details or there is something really screwy going on here.

indrus.in...



posted on Oct, 26 2012 @ 01:03 PM
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reply to post by Phage
 


Is steam not a hot gas?



posted on Oct, 26 2012 @ 01:41 PM
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reply to post by Orwells Ghost
 

Yes but it is the phase change between liquid water and water vapor (steam) which provides the energy for a steam turbine. Water when converted to steam expands a great deal, it is that expansion which is taken advantage of.

While gasses do expand when heated the extent to which they do so is not nearly as much as water being vaporized (or other materials undergoing a change in phase). Perhaps there is something else being utilized (liquid sodium perhaps) but with a closed system there is still the problem of condensing the gas back into liquid form.
edit on 10/26/2012 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 26 2012 @ 02:01 PM
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reply to post by Phage
 


Interesting, thanks for clarifying that. The article isn't specific as to what "hot gas" is being used within the reactor's loop to spin the turbine/generator, perhaps it is in fact just water vapour? Who knows though, they might be using some kind of exotic gas.

I think their claims to high thrust may have some merit, though without actual testing that remains to be seen. If you consider the potential speed that ions could be ejected from the engine, pound for pound they could have a far higher specific impulse than that of a chemical oxidizer. Of course the actual thrust at any given moment would be much lower, but in the near frictionless environment of space it could provide continuous acceleration over time rather than a burst of power followed by long periods of coasting.

It would be pretty amazing if this could be made practical in the short term. Mr.Cameron's asteroid mining endeavour might actually become economically feasible if we could reach the asteroid belt in a few weeks rather than a couple of years.



posted on Oct, 26 2012 @ 02:29 PM
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"and in other news...the US has developed bigger weapons that kill more people!"



/yawn



posted on Oct, 26 2012 @ 02:31 PM
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reply to post by Orwells Ghost
 

No doubt that an ion drive has the potential for producing a lot of thrust. But it would take a lot of power. Power to ionize the material and power to accelerate the ions. The article sort if implies that this drive could replace chemical rockets. Not likely.

You're right though, it is the potential for sustained, even though low powered thrust, which makes plasma drives so attractive.



posted on Oct, 26 2012 @ 02:39 PM
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Originally posted by TXRabbit
"and in other news...the US has developed bigger weapons that kill more people!"



/yawn

www.adastrarocket.com...
For what it's worth, this company's CEO is Franklin Chang-Díaz, 7 time NASA astronaut veteran.



posted on Oct, 26 2012 @ 03:01 PM
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reply to post by Phage
 


Lot's of power, no doubt. A few hundred megawatts should do the trick though right? That's what this exercise is all about after all (at least I hope so). I don't however think that it is their intention to replace chemical rockets for earth-to-orbit applications, the ion engines would just be for "out there".

One thing that really concerns me is my assumption that they will have to assemble this craft and it's reactor in space, and the only way to get those nuclear fuel rods up there is with a good ol' fashioned chemical rocket. Let's hope it's not a hack job when it comes to safety precautions!
edit on 26-10-2012 by Orwells Ghost because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 27 2012 @ 12:33 AM
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You know .. in Stargate:SG-1, it is the russians that create earths first mothership : Prometheus, Or am i wrong? Its been awhile.



posted on Oct, 27 2012 @ 01:57 AM
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Originally posted by LeoStarchild
You know .. in Stargate:SG-1, it is the russians that create earths first mothership : Prometheus, Or am i wrong? Its been awhile.


No, the Americans built it with various alien tech and the Asgard upgraded it. A later version was exchanged with the Russians for the stargate, and it was named after Korolev as is mentioned in the OP interestingly enough.



posted on Oct, 27 2012 @ 02:01 AM
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Originally posted by lewman
I wonder how much air they will be able to carry on the type of ship that this would power.

And maybe we should be proud of the achievements of our fellow humans instead.



Sweet
After all we are all in this together ,so good for them a step in the right direction



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