NASA and Russia to Discuss Nuclear-Powered Spaceship Project
Roscosmos director Anatoly Perminov said that the meeting will be held on April 15. He added that other countries with a high level of reactor manufacturing technology will also take part of the project but did not name them.
“A nuclear engine design is to be completed by 2012, while the project’s implementation will require 17 billion rubles ($600 million),” said Perminov. “Most of the funding will come from Russian state-run nuclear corporation Rosatom.”
Last year, the Roscosmos director said that developing spacecraft powered with nuclear engines was a very promising area that could allow making flights to Mars and other planets.
Perminov also announced that the new spaceport Vostochny in Russia’s Amur region will be ready for first launch by 2015. The Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome is located in Kazakhstan, a former Soviet state and is the world’s first and largest operational space center.
The Baikonur spaceport was originally built by the Soviet Union. On June 8, 2005, Kazakhstan and Russia signed an agreement for extending the lease of the space center until 2050 for $115 million per year.
“We need Baikonur very much, but we should also develop Vostochny. By that time (2015), the Rus-M middle-class carrier rocket with increased lifting capacity will be ready too,” Perminov added.
Finally, he announced that the launch of the first manned mission from the new Vostochny spaceport is scheduled for 2018. The flight to the International Space Station from Vostochny is “a number one task,” according to Perminov.