Nuclear propulsion systems developed by Keldysh Centre will be used on new Angara Booster, – Told Deputy General Director of the centre Vladimir Koschlakov at MAKS Airshow on Thursday. “Flight tests of the new system will take place in 2018, – he reported.
Currently chemical engines are used on the rockets. The burning of chemical propellant excludes the opportunity to get a higher velocity. Nuclear propulsion system will use nuclear propellant and acceleration is obtained due to electricity instead of chemocal energy.
“Such electric engines enable to fly to space more efficiently”, – explained Keldysh Centre General Director Anatoliy Koroteev.
So far this system is being developed for unmanned cosmonautics, as by nuclear reactor use special radiation protection is needed. “ We are working over all variants, when we have efficient protection we will use the system for manned cosmonautics, – Koroteev said. – But it will happen in 20-25 at the earliest”.
As research centre director explained, nuclear propellant system will be essential for long-distance and interplanetary flights. “This project will be needed when we have plans on Moon or Mars exploration”, – he pointed out.
Note: Most likely, Vladimir Koschlakov was speaking about nuclear propulsion systems on upper stage, not about system on booster stage.