Perminov: Nuclear Engine Key to Interplanetary Missions

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Presentation by Roscosmos Head Anatoly Perminov
at the Heads of the Agency Plenary
International Astronautic Conference 2010
Sept. 27 — Prague

“Roscosmos actively uses space technologies for innovative economical evolution. With the budget much lower than the NASA’s one, we have to work day and night to achieve the objectives we have.

“We keep high launch intensiveness of Russian rocket carriers. Since last October, we have made 29 launches, i.e. 41% of the number of launches in the world.

“We pay much attention to enhancing Russian space communication systems, in particular, second-generation spacecraft of low-orbit communication system Gonets.

“This year we plan to provide global coverage by Russian navigation system GLONASS. This means 24 operational spacecraft in orbit, with 3-4 in redundancy.

“Flight tests of GSO weather satellite Electro-L will begin in late 2010, and we pay significant attention to development of the scientific spacecraft.

“We have completed design and search activities, and begin construction of the first launch pad in the Far East of our country.

“Concerning international cooperation, it’s rather intensive. But the main, critical, thing is completion of the Soyuz launch pad in French Guiana.

“The other important project is the International Space Station. Here, I would like to thank for the support… It’s really so, encouragement of the heads of the agencies was obvious in our hour of need.

“With respect to advanced projects, we started reviewing designs of heavy-lft and super-heavy-lift launchers, on the available technological grounds, and development of advanced technologies for the prospective rocket carriers.

“However we can’t stack on this stage, as the existing rocket engines are not capable of supporting fast interplanetary missions. Thus, we have initiated experimental and design activities to develop a new propulsion with nuclear energy source. The system can be used for interplanetary flights, missions to remote planets, or as an inter-orbital tug.”