Within the framework of the state program “Space Activities of Russia for 2013-2020”, design documentation was developed, a number of components of the prototype of the ground prototype of the transport and energy module (TEM) based on a megawatt-class nuclear power propulsion system (“nuclear tug”) were manufactured and autonomously tested, it is reported in the annual report of Roscosmos for 2018.
The document says that the further implementation of the project "Creating a transport and energy module based on a megawatt-class nuclear power plant" is planned as part of the Federal Space Program. Other details regarding TEM are not reported.
In November 2018, the appearance of a “nuclear tugboat” was presented in Russia.
In October, the state scientific Keldysh Center announced the successful completion of ground-based tests of the megawatt-class space nuclear power propulsion cooling system.
Rosatom has repeatedly (in particular, in March 2016) announced plans to manufacture a prototype nuclear tugboat designed for deep space flights by 2018.
The project entitled “Creating a transport and energy module based on a megawatt-class nuclear power plant” was approved in 2010 by the Presidential Commission for Modernization and Technological Development of the Russian Economy. 17 billion rubles were allocated from the budget for its implementation.
In the period from 1970 to 1988, 32 spacecraft with a thermoelectric nuclear power plant were launched in the USSR, and from 1960 to 1980, a nuclear rocket engine was developed and tested at the Semipalatinsk test site.
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