The Russian government has assigned funds of 500 million roubles ($16.7m) for the development of a nuclear-powered spacecraft, according to reports. Draft designs are expected to be finalised by 2012. RIA Novosti reports that 430 million roubles of the space nuke-engine funding has been assigned to the Rosatom state nuclear …
ha ha, Screw you USA, look at our lovely Plutonium 238....Mmmmm tastes guuuuud
Thats what I thought of first, but sadly we're not going to be seeing small cities blasted into orbit and beyond by exploding atomic bombs underneath them.
Flame - lots of radioactive ones..
What's the point in going to Mars?
Of course it would be a great achievement and scientifically interesting, but it seems to me that the time and money spent on sending a few people to a dry, dusty planet would be better invested elsewhere for the moment. We should be looking to the asteroid belt, mine those rocks and get some permanent bases up in space then jaunts to Mars (and other planets) become cheaper and easier. If we can only ever launch to space by blasting out of the Earth's atmosphere we're never going to get anywhere.
stick to the puppets gerald
Sounds like the 'Queller Drive' drive off space 1999 to me.
Apparently launched in 1985 according to 'visionary' Gerry Anderson.......
Bring back Project Orion, was a great idea that would have made space travel "fairly" cheap had it been completed.
Multiple atmospheric nuclear explosions
per launch. I'm broadly pro-nuclear but I'm not crazy. Project Orion was cool, perhaps, in a mad scientist sort of way but not safe, clean or indeed in any way cheap.
Launch the craft with conventional rockets or build it in space, problem solved. Nuclear fuel is the only viable fuel for the near future.
The problem with orion is that it has to be pretty much all assembled in space and launched from space, the fallout caused by an earth launch would be responsible for many deaths. Other than that, it's ace.
I believe NASA are investigating the technology again in view to destroying earth crossing objects, as you can get an Orion style craft out to destroy one with enough time for a second chance, if it doesn't work. I'm not sure how seriously it is being investigated though, especially with the assemble in space requirement.
I don't think it's that easy
If by space you mean low Earth orbit you'll still have a cloud of radioactive material raining down on the planet. On the other hand, if you launch from a safe distance you're faced with the problem of getting what is unavoidably a massive vehicle to that point using chemical propulsion. That's not a trivial thing to do with current tech (and budgets). There are a variety of nuclear space propulsion technologies that are promising and potentially realisable in the medium term but the Orion drive isn't one of them.
$16.7M? about £9M
That's less than some companies spend on internal comms.
I can't wait to see the finished project.
On the Space 1999 suggestion, Moonbase Alpha was almost destroyed by the angry inhabitants of a planet the Queller Drive inadvertently destroyed.
You can get all-excited about it by reading the synopsis here:
The episode after next is better because Brian Blessed is in it.
Russia's got the knowledge but not the bucks
The US has the bucks but no longer has the knowledge. Most of the clueful NASA folks are retired now, even if you count the Shuttle designers as clueful.
And "no bucks, no Buck Rogers"
Not quite right there...
Unfortunately Gene, the US does not have the bucks. US is rather strapped for cash right now and if they continue to use the "Hey let's just print more money!" approach then they're only going to hurt themselves moreso.
in space. I'd like to see that.
This is an awesome word!
Surely that should be
But they're both fun to say.
One problem with bringing back Project Orion is the need to start testing again. This would mean a renewed (and not quelled) interest in Nuclear Fission from countries that excite the security councils around the globe. Then, there will be a "Oh, so Westerners can blast off into space using Nuclear Power, yet we were told to build renewable energy sources by utilising flatulence..!"
I for one would love to see cheap, efficient, and clean space travel. I wanna see the stars, and witness the space between galaxies first hand
OOooohhh the love of it all! Makes a young man's mind turn to jelly..
Paris, because she can make my mind turn to jelly in a good way, and a bad way..
Hence forth el Reg shall write all currencies in scientific prefix notaiton, as follows:
megarouble, megapound, megadollar
kilorouble, kilopound, kilodollar
All we need now is ...
the Chinese and Indians to become active.... nothing like a little competition to get things rolling - we should have had bases on both the moon and mars by now.
By a happy coincidence I'm currently reading "An Aspie Story: To Inhabit the Solar System"
He was inspired by the Orion project, it's an enjoyable read..
"plasma or ion rocket"
"plasma or ion rocket" ?!?
No, no, no, no.
Just throw water into it. Much cheaper, and there are plenty of Earth orbit cross 'dark comets' to fuel from.
Read Anthony Zuppero's book...
Russia has substantial space reactor experience
IIRC driving big ocean surveillance radars.
He seems to be talking rather more about Project NERVA, direct heating (and expulsion) of liquid hydrogen.
Note that while NERVA is high thrust (more convetional rocket than 0.1N ion drives) and with an Isp of around 700-900sec its thrust to weight ration is very poor at about 1.1 to one (although that's a guess. NERVA was only a ground test).
At this stage in the game you might as well go with a microwave driven ion drive powered by an orbiting solar power sat (yes NASA has looked at this).
Mine's the one with SP8000 series on a PDF reader.
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