Nuclear Rocket Motors: Development Status and Application Prospects
The possibility and expediency of using nuclear rocket motors at the present stage of development of rocketspace technology as part of conventional and advanced space means, including the upper stages of carrier rockets and acceleration blocks, reusable interorbital tugs, and a motor assembly of the piloted Martian expedition complex are discussed. It is shown that because of high cost it is not expedient to use NRM in single-use booster blocks and multi-use tugs for transport operations in near-Earth space, since the specific cost of delivering a useful load into high working orbits increases by a factor of 1.5 or more as compared with transport means based on oxygen-hydrogen rocket motors. At the same time, their use for the Martian expedition complex makes it possible to improve considerably the design characteristics of the complex (starting mass and expedition duration) as compared with non-nuclear motor systems.
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