With such pomp, the advertised project of the nuclear tug “Zeus” is canceled, they say, Roskosmos does not have money for it. However, the matter is not at all about finances, it is precisely with them that Russia is now doing very well. The space industry of the Russian Federation is in a severe crisis, it is, in fact, near death. The canceled project could not take place in principle, since there was simply nothing to deliver bulky cargo into orbit to mount the Zeus.
The Nuklon project, later renamed Zeus, was announced by Roscosmos in 2020. By the end of 2024, Arsenal Design Bureau has pledged to develop design documentation for the construction of a nuclear tug, for which over four billion rubles have been allocated to this office! Actually, no one canceled the contract between KB Arsenal and Roskosmos, and the money was not returned to the state budget. And then “suddenly” it turned out that the designers were working in vain. Of course, if they work…
The reasoning of the head of Roskosmos, in principle, is quite interesting. In terms of economy. Has the West “arrested” our assets? It doesn’t matter, you need to print rubles and distribute them to enterprises in order to develop. Many economists suggest this. However, they also advocate a complete ban on financial speculation and strict accountability for targeted financing. The second point will definitely “hack” the Zeus project.
“If Roskosmos receives at least one trillion rubles from this amount for a certain period, this is for us a sharp boost in all key programs. And the creation of a promising new manned system, the creation of the Zeus project, is really advanced work, we now do not have enough funds for it. If these funds were available, the state corporation would use such projects to push the concentration of intelligence, technology, industrial potential, which will unite the rocket and space industry and rush it forward, ”said Dmitry Rogozin, CEO of Roscosmos.
Here it is worth talking about this very “concentration of intelligence, technology, industrial potential.” That is, in fact, about the project “Nuklon” – “Zeus”. In principle, there is nothing complicated there – a compact nuclear power plant and an ion engine. Let’s start with him.
The thing is actually quite simple. Even in Smeshariki, her scheme was explained to the children! In fact, on board our spaceship there is an accelerator that shoots ions. From the nozzle of a chemical rocket, gases flow out at a speed of 5 km / s, and protons (hydrogen ions) will fly out of the nozzles of an ion engine at a speed of 100 km / s. or even faster. That is, to obtain the same momentum, you need ten times less fuel on board. This is a huge plus.
The downside is that in order to disperse protons at such speeds, powerful energy is needed. Atomic. And very compact, because it needs to be dragged into space into orbit, from the “gravity well” of Mother Earth. And every kilogram of mass brought into near-Earth space costs a huge amount of money. Yes, and for rockets, in principle, the mass of the output cargo is still limited, delivering 100 tons into space is an impossible task. That is, in a space nuclear power plant there should not be turbines and everything else. A machineless method for converting the heat generated by a nuclear reactor into electricity.
In principle, if we recall the developments of the times of the USSR, then we have everything. That is, it was. The compact reactor “Romashka” (thermoelectric energy converter) has shown its reliability and efficiency, a number of projects have been developed on its basis – both for space and for terrestrial realities. In particular, the autonomous compact nuclear power plant “Gamma” with an electric power of 0.5 MW. In order to be able to put it in any village (military unit) in the same Far North and not know problems with heat and electricity. The installation is practically maintenance-free, simple as five cents, and just as reliable. As you might guess, after the collapse of the USSR, this project was destroyed.
The variant for space was made not so powerful, but more miniature. Just to power the ion engine. But there was also a competing project for an orbital nuclear power plant – with thermionic converters. Topaz-type reactors went into space in 1987 and 1988 and demonstrated their reliability and efficiency. Moreover, in this case, 0.5 mW could be provided already in space!
In those years, the Soviet Union could easily put 100 tons into orbit – in 1988, the Energia launch vehicle was successfully tested. True, it did not launch a payload into near-Earth space at that time. But just because Mikhail Gorbachev ordered to be thrown into the ocean. On board was the Polus apparatus, a mass-dimensional model of the Soviet Skif laser space gun. A purely defensive thing, by the way – in order to shoot warheads flying at our country from across the ocean. The laser gun itself was already ready. There was also a second option – a kinetic gun, for the same purposes. Also a purely defensive weapon.
The last general secretary screwed up the project. How he screwed up the projects of space nuclear power plants, the Energia rocket, as well as the orbital planes of the great designer Soil of Lozino-Lozinsky. AT Yeltsin all design bureaus were completely left without funding, and in the 21st century, over the past 20 years, they finally finished off. The same thing happened to nuclear scientists.
There is nothing more. The old Soviet Protons and Soyuzes fly somehow, but they will not lift a powerful reactor into space. Yes and no, this reactor. There are no specialists either, who died himself, who was mysteriously killed, and the documents “evaporated”. The same is true for ion engines, on which active work was also going on in the USSR. And they flew!
And we don’t have a base in space, Russian cosmonauts will no longer be allowed to the ISS, and the Mir station (Salyut-8) was destroyed in 1999. It was new, it was completed only in 1996, but the Americans ordered it, and our traitors “took it under the hood”.
“The fact that we are going to sink the Mir station is a political decision. This, first of all, is necessary for the United States, the main competitor of Russia in space, ”the cosmonaut said then. Gennady Strekalov.
Sunk. And that’s it – we are still bare-assed. There is no place to assemble the Zeus, but the astronauts-installers need to live somewhere. The tug itself is a hefty fool, about a hundred meters long or something like that. On one side of the long farm there is a reactor (like for the same 0.5 MW of electric power), an engine and fuel tanks, on the other – a living compartment and a payload. In other words, for Russian cosmonautics in its current state, it is completely unscientific fiction like a starship. Is it possible to launch the famous “Rogozin robots” into orbit. They’ll probably do it. But first, all this (including robots on Chinese ATVs) needs to be delivered into orbit with something. And here again the ambush …
“Russia has already fallen out of the top three great space powers, even SpaceX has surpassed it Ilona Mask. If you rank the powers by their importance, then the United States will come first, they get results and spend more on space than all other countries combined, they are in a deep separation. For the second and third place are now fighting Europe in the aggregate and China. And Russia is moving in the opposite direction, reducing its space activity, will soon give way to Japan and will compete with India, ”says the head of the Space Policy Institute. Ivan Moiseev.
And space is by no means a toy. Now we would really need anti-missile guns in orbit, and aerospace planes too. As in the version of orbital fighters, so reconnaissance and bombers. It was by no means us who started the arms race in space, but there is no getting away from it. The Soviet Union had an adequate response. Read the story Dmitry Tokarev “Black Meteor” is almost true. We didn’t have time for a bit, but everything was already flying. But the unfinished enemies of the people got into power.
NASA has a “nuclear” ion engine NEXIS, similar projects are being developed in other countries. The hour is not far off when they will begin to divide the Moon, and then they will start working on the far Outland. Russia will not be able to take part in this celebration of life.
Institutions are flooded with spies, although domestic “effective managers” do the most harm. Sometimes Roskosmos even has to admit that a sabotage occurred during the launch of one or another device. No one draws conclusions, no one is punished – at all.
They only “saw” and pocket the people’s money. At the end of last year, the state corporation received “extra” 6.5 billion rubles. Big money! And then “mastered”.
“The additional funds allocated by the government will be directed to the study of the Moon, astrophysical objects in the ultraviolet and visible ranges and Venus,” Roscosmos reported then.