Russia eyes nuclear-powered spaceships
Russian space contractor RSC Energia has confirmed plans for the design of advanced space modules that will be powered by nuclear-based propulsion systems.
According to Ria Novosti, initial launches of the first-gen modules could kick off by 2020.
As one would expect, the ambitious project carries a hefty price tag of over $580 million.
Nevertheless, Federal Space Agency Roscosmos director Anatoly Perminov believes the development of Megawatt-class nuclear space power systems (MCNSPS) for manned spacecraft is "crucial" if Russia wants to maintain a competitive edge in the space race.
It should be noted that RSC Energia has also announced its intention to develop a space-based nuclear power station (for placement on the moon or Mars), along with a nuclear-powered space tug - which could theoretically halve current satellite launching and orbiting costs.