In just ten years, Russia will be the first to receive a space nuclear tug

Despite a number of known problems, Russian astronautics has a very good chance of becoming a leader in the development of the solar system. The appearance in our country of a “nuclear tugboat” is the first quite realistic. This space transport in the foreseeable future will open up new opportunities for Russia in the conquest of the moon, the asteroid belt and Mars.




Mankind has always dreamed of flying to distant stars, but a real breakthrough was made during the Cold War, when the best minds of the two systems competed, who first flew into space, who first stepped onto the surface of the moon. The USSR succeeded in one; in the second, the United States overtook us. However, it is obvious that the power and speed of the rockets is not enough for flying into outer space.

In the 50-60 years of the last century, an interesting project of the so-called "explosion" was proposed in the USA. The Orion spacecraft was supposed to fly, throwing small nuclear bombs behind it. Despite the seemingly exotic concept, the “explode” with its nuclear pulse engine was breakthrough and quite realistic for of technologies of his time. The Americans even carried out field tests, one of which was successful. However, in 1965, the project was closed.

The idea of ​​using the nuclear pulse engine of the failed Orion was used in the seventies when the British developed the Daedalus unmanned spacecraft. This interplanetary probe was supposed to reach the Barnard star in 50 years and transmit the received data to Earth. It is a merit of this project that flights to the stars have finally moved from the level of science fiction to the field of serious subject research.

In parallel, work on the creation of a nuclear rocket engine went in the USSR. This became possible thanks to the joint efforts of the teams of Korolev, Keldysh and Kurchatov. In the late seventies and early eighties, the Soviet atomic rocket engine was designed and tested. But then Chernobyl occurred, casting a shadow over nuclear technology, and then Perestroika put an end to many promising projects.

In the modern Russian Federation, the idea of ​​using nuclear power plants re-emerged in 2009. To implement the ambitious “transport energy module” (TEM), the efforts of the Rosatom and Roskosmos corporations were combined. The head of the Keldysh center said:

TEM is a qualitatively new space tool. It will be able to provide long-term expeditions into deep space, an increase in the efficiency of transport operations by 20 times, an increase in electric power in space by more than 10 times, and effective inter-orbital transportation.


The heart of the space tug is a megawatt-class nuclear installation that powers the electric plasma engine. The life of TEM will be limited only by the resource of the reactor, which is estimated at 10 years. Collected in orbit, a tugboat will be able to deliver cargo to the moon, clear near-Earth space of accumulated debris, direct other vehicles to Mars and other planets of the solar system.

The project is promising, but technically very complex, requiring many new solutions. The nuclear tug will have to be tested in orbit, where it will have to be gradually assembled. It will also require the construction of appropriate infrastructure at the Vostochny spaceport. The most realistic dates for the start of TEM operation are the 2030s.
Photos used: https://naked-science.ru
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  1. Arkharov Offline
    Arkharov (Grigory Arkharov) 11 October 2019 14: 58
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    Another funny article. I don’t even remember that we were supposed to have a maximum in 10 years, but for now the last Unions are flying.
    1. mister-red Offline
      mister-red 12 October 2019 14: 06
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      Americans have not flown either new or old missiles for 8 years. Perhaps in the following. And regularly on the ISS already in the 21st. So it’s okay if the Russians still fly 5-7 years old. Then catch up.
      1. Arkharov Offline
        Arkharov (Grigory Arkharov) 12 October 2019 14: 30
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        The heart of the space tug is a megawatt-class nuclear installation that powers the electric plasma engine. Collected in orbit, a tugboat will be able to deliver cargo to the moon, clear the near-Earth space from accumulated debris, direct other vehicles to Mars and other planets of the solar system - can you imagine this in 10 years? !!!!!!
        1. mister-red Offline
          mister-red 12 October 2019 15: 19
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          I don’t know what technologies are currently in Russia in this area, so I can’t say anything. You probably too.
          In fact, Musk will soon promise Martian colonies, but I don’t believe in this at all. Maximum, there will be one or two stations around the moon.
          And 10 or 20 years does not matter for a space tug. Mask this year promised to send a man, but it is unlikely. It seems to me what matters, but I will have a box of cognac from Ilon's witnesses for the New Year. ))) If not deceived. (((
          1. Arkharov Offline
            Arkharov (Grigory Arkharov) 12 October 2019 17: 17
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            I don’t know what technologies are currently in Russia in this area, so I can’t say anything. You probably too. But I, it seems, have a head and rich life experience. I'm afraid in this particular case this is quite enough.
            1. mister-red Offline
              mister-red 13 October 2019 11: 34
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              Life experiences are different.)
              And the head - there is a desire to measure certificates, diplomas and posts in life? Judging by the manner of expressing thoughts, I suspect that it is unlikely.
              1. Arkharov Offline
                Arkharov (Grigory Arkharov) 14 October 2019 17: 38
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                About the face, there may be some surprises.
                1. mister-red Offline
                  mister-red 15 October 2019 10: 24
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                  No doubt ))))
    2. Wooh Offline
      Wooh (Barmaley) 14 October 2019 12: 34
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      Another funny article. I don’t even remember that we were supposed to have a maximum in 10 years, but for now the last Unions are flying.

      Are you an expert in this field? I think no. Alliances are proven safe flight technology. While they satisfy the requirements of flights to the ISS. "Federation" to the ISS will fly? After all, our hotels dump. And to build an atomic spaceship is not the language of the couch ...
      tongue
      1. Arkharov Offline
        Arkharov (Grigory Arkharov) 14 October 2019 17: 31
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        There is no bazaar. Alliances are proven safe flight technology. I agree. But what does it have to do with the 50-year-old Unions: the heart of the space tug is a megawatt-class nuclear installation that provides the operation of an electric-plasma engine. Collected in orbit, can a tug deliver cargo to the moon, clear near-Earth space of accumulated debris, direct other vehicles to Mars and other planets of the solar system?
      2. Arkharov Offline
        Arkharov (Grigory Arkharov) 14 October 2019 17: 33
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        And here is the main question - there seems to be nowhere to fly more? !!!! 2 flights a year on the ISS without Americans, and then where? And what does this remarkable science fiction have to do with the Unions?
  2. Dzafdet Offline
    Dzafdet (Sergei) 11 October 2019 16: 20
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    Gathered, flew, and then a meteorite - balls! And everything flew off ...
    1. Cetron Offline
      Cetron (Peteris) 11 October 2019 23: 48
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      He left the house, and then a brick on the head, sadness.
  3. Marzhecki Online
    Marzhecki (Sergei) 11 October 2019 16: 49
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    Quote: Dzafdet
    Gathered, flew, and then a meteorite - balls! And everything flew off ...

    This mask for some reason does not stop.
  4. Marzhecki Online
    Marzhecki (Sergei) 12 October 2019 08: 06
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    Quote: Arkharov
    Another funny article. I don’t even remember that we were supposed to have a maximum in 10 years, but for now the last Unions are flying.

    Yes, you will laugh.
  5. Alien on this holiday of life 12 October 2019 08: 13
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    Planet to Mars? Thieves and bandits don't build planets and quantum computers don't. They have a different purpose in life. As long as we have criminality in power, nothing like this is possible for objective reasons.
    1. mister-red Offline
      mister-red 12 October 2019 14: 08
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      I understood correctly - your nickname says that you are sorry that you are not participating in the affairs of power?
  6. Monster_Fat Offline
    Monster_Fat (What's the difference) 12 October 2019 14: 42
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    Lord, how tired of all these "Russian" ones: "they will", "are planned," "are going to do," "intend," "for such and such a year," etc. "promises" of the type "or" donkey, or "padish" ".... negative "Nuclear tug"? Don’t tell my “slippers” - there, in “Nenoks” first you’ll dissipate everything .... projectors, damn it .... angry
  7. Sapsan136 Offline
    Sapsan136 (Sapsan136) 13 October 2019 01: 39
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    Russia does not have money for the Navy, pensions and decent salaries for the population ... And in the Kremlin, they rave about star wars and space tugs ...
  8. mmk Offline
    mmk 13 October 2019 05: 25
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    The danger is that the booster can explode and is fraught with an atomic accident, which is not very good for the environment.
  9. EXPrompt Offline
    EXPrompt (EXPrompt) 14 October 2019 11: 47
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    The difference between the US and Russia is visible on this project.
    In the USA there was a JIMO project Jupiter Moon Orbiter, there the very same task was posed - to build a nuclear tractor and fly to the moons of Jupiter. The project was closed by Obama, could not find a technical solution for the cooling system of a megawatt rector in space.
    In Russia, such a project is underway, a unique capillary reactor cooling system has already been developed for it, and work is underway to improve ion-plasma engines, they are trying to increase traction and resource.

    Whoever first develops such a device will fly to Mars quickly, and to Jupiter, etc. etc.
    This is a breakthrough technology, and Russia is still the leader in technology developments.
    As I see it, soon, in a few years. Roscosmos will begin to launch space models to test new technologies.
    So, you need to monitor this area ... Even earlier than 10 years, the prospects for the emergence of a nuclear tractor in humanity in the near future will be clear.
    1. Arkharov Offline
      Arkharov (Grigory Arkharov) 14 October 2019 17: 39
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      The main thing is to try only in space, and not on earth.