Russia to Develop Nucleon Complex to Fly to Jupiter

  • The contract for the development of the Nucleon Complex expected to be signed this year.
  • The project will be done in two stages.
  • The final destination will be Jupiter.

Roscosmos State Corporation announced that it plans to sign a contract before the end of this year pertaining to the development of the new Nucleon complex. The Nucleon complex is expected to include a space tug with the nuclear reactor on board. The first official flight is expected to take place in 2030.

The Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities (ROSCOSMOS) is a state corporation responsible for the wide range and types of space flights and cosmonautics programs for the Russian Federation.

The final destination will be Jupiter. The timeframe was provided by the Executive Director for Advanced Programs and Science at Roscosmos, Alexander Bloshenko. Said Bloshenko:

“The contract for the advance project for the Nucleon space complex will be concluded by the end of this year. A space tug with a nuclear reactor from this complex will be used for flights to distant planets of the Solar system, its first mission is planned for 2030.”

Moreover, the new flight program of the tug “Nucleon,” Bloshenko noted that “this will not just be a test launch with a black box, but immediately a full-fledged scientific program.”

The program will consist of two stages: 

  1. The mission in 2030, the tug will dock in space with a payload module and go to the moon, where it will conduct its sounding and leave a research satellite in its orbit.
  2. A bundle of a space tug and a payload module will fly to Venus, and on the way to the planet, it is possible to conduct tests for refueling the tug with fuel (xenon gas).

Bloshenko added:

“At Venus itself, a research satellite will also separate from the payload module, and the tug itself with the remaining scientific equipment will perform a gravitational maneuver and proceed to the implementation of the third stage of the mission to fly to the final point – the Jupiter satellite and study it.”

The Artemis program is an ongoing government-funded crewed spaceflight program that has the goal of landing “the first woman and the next man” on the Moon, specifically at the lunar south pole region by 2024.

Additionally, the Executive Director specified that the design of the space tug will be a transport and energy module with an open architecture. Its main features are the ability to independently generate energy from a megawatt-class nuclear reactor for a long time, and the ability to transport various payloads.

To understand the energy capabilities of the new space tug, Bloshenko noted that, for comparison, the International Space Station uses its solar panels to generate no more than 60 kilowatts of energy.

Overall, the program sounds promising. However, it could be a lot of hypotheticals and very ambitious plan for the launch itself. As of late, Russia has been grandstanding pertaining to its defense and space equipment. This project is at the infant stages.

Nevertheless, it is plausible that NASA has its own plans pertaining to the other planets, and further space explorations outside of the Moon and Mars.

This century might be pivotal in the colonizations of the other planets, especially the Moon. More announcements of such nature are expected to be released within a year.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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