According to the head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin, the promising Russian nuclear tug Zeus will look for signs of extraterrestrial life. Among other tasks - flights to a natural satellite of the Earth.
The head of the space department spoke about the appointment of a nuclear tug at the International Space Exploration Conference GLEX 2021. to understand: are we alone in space or there is another life, "Rogozin said.
The elements of the tug have been under development since 2010. They are based on a transport and energy module with a megawatt-class nuclear power plant. The model of the spacecraft was presented for the first time at the International Aviation and Space Salon - 2019. During the forum "Army-2020", they showed a three-dimensional graphics of its work in space.
Research and development work on the project was named "Nuclon". The tug itself was named Zeus. They intend to develop a preliminary design of the tug by the summer of 2024. This is estimated at 4.2 billion rubles.
In January last year, 2030 was named as the launch date for the nuclear tug. After the tests, they want to start mass production of the spacecraft and put it into commercial operation.
In May, Alexander Bloshenko, executive director for promising programs and science at Roscosmos, told how much a manned flight to the moon would cost. If you choose the option with a super-heavy carrier, the amount will be 1.7 trillion rubles. However, a budget approach is also possible, in which it is possible to achieve the set goals (or at least some of them) for 400 billion.
Instead of a super-heavy launch vehicle, in this case, heavy-class "Angara" missiles are used. A new medium can be developed after the formulation of additional goals and objectives.
As before, a new generation spacecraft Orel is being considered as a means of delivering astronauts to the satellite. To reduce costs, a lightweight version can be created on its basis, designed for two astronauts (the capacity of the basic version is up to six people).
The timing of the first flight of a new type of apparatus is known: if nothing changes, they want to start flight tests of the ship in 2023. The Eagle's first manned flight may take place in 2025. As a possible date for the first landing of astronauts on the surface of the satellite, 2030 was previously called.