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Russia considering making spaceplane powered by a nuclear reactor

‘Reshaping space market’: Russia mulls building rocket plane with nuclear engine   Rt.com : 6 Mar, 2019 Russian space agency Roscosmos is considering building a spaceplane powered by a nuclear reactor, according to a memo obtained by a Russian news agency. The move could “reshape” the market for space launches, the document says.

A rocket plane is an aircraft powered by rocket engines. Conventional jets proved better for atmosphere-only flight, but this type of vehicle found its niche application as a reusable spacecraft – most notably as the Space Shuttle program.

Several rocket planes are still operational today, like the SpaceShipTwo, which is meant for suborbital tourist flights. Roscosmos believes such an aircraft may be viable for space missions if equipped with a nuclear power plant, says a memo reviewed by RIA Novosti.

The memo says Russia’s experience with creating the Buran spaceplane and similar space systems would come in handy for designing such a craft in the future.

Nuclear power is tricky to use in space, let alone harnessing it to provide propulsion. The USSR experimented with placing small nuclear reactors on its satellites for endurance, but the incident with the Kosmos 954 sat, which malfunctioned and fell in Canada in 1977, showed that potential problems probably outweigh the benefits. Improvements in solar panels made them the to-go power source in space applications while chemical and compressed gas thrusters are used for propulsion.

The picture may be different for long-range space missions, in which a reliable power source, capable of providing propulsion for months rather than minutes would be a huge advantage. Russia is currently working on a project dubbed TEM, a nuclear-powered rocket powered by a megawatt-class nuclear reactor…….. https://www.rt.com/russia/453132-rocket-plane-nuclear-power/

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March 7, 2019 Posted by | Russia, space travel | Leave a comment

Space travel? The human body is not compatible with ionising radiation

From Radiation to Isolation: 5 Big Risks for Mars Astronauts (Videos)

Even astronauts who live on the International Space Station, which sits inside Earth’s protective magnetic field, are exposed to 10 times the radiation they would if they were back on Earth, NASA officials said in a statement and series of videos from the agency’s Human Research Program.

Anyone who traveled through deep space would be at much greater risk from radiation exposure. Outside of Earth’s protective shield, radiation can increase cancer risk and damage a person’s central nervous system (which would cause altered cognitive function, reduced motor function and behavioral changes), NASA’s Human Research Program said. Other dangers of being exposed to such high radiation include nausea, vomiting, anorexia, fatigue, cataracts, cardiac disease and circulatory disease. …….https://www.space.com/42918-big-space-risks-mars-astronauts-videos.html

January 10, 2019 Posted by | space travel | Leave a comment

Space travel enthusiasts show their ignorance of ecology and the dangers of Plutonium 238

I do not have time at the moment to really think about this one, –  But –  a couple of  lovely sentences just leaped out at me:

Plutonium-238 is very special for the fact that it’s a material that poses virtually no danger to anyone unless you do something insane 

we have to put our illogical fears aside 

That’s from this absolute hymn to Plutonium 238  – Forbes 13 Dec 18 – NASA Doesn’t Have Enough Nuclear Fuel For Its Deep Space Missions

 

December 15, 2018 Posted by | space travel, USA | Leave a comment