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Russian Scientists Advances Space Tech with ROSATOM’s Plasma Rocket Engine

Russia Energomash Plant

Chimauchem Nwosu In 2023, a scientific research program saw Russian scientists breaking new ground by constructing small-scale atomic reactors and achieving plasma confinement in tokamak nuclear fusion chambersSpecialists from Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom have developed a plasma accelerator for a prototype plasma rocket engine.The design boasts improved thrust of about 6 Newtons and specific impulse roughly 100 km/s, according to the press service of the state corporation’s scientific division.The engine, operating in pulse-periodic mode with a power of up to 300 kilowatts (kW), opens up new prospects for space exploration.In 2023, Rosatom scientists achieved several notable milestones as part of the “Development of Technology, Techniques, and Scientific Research in the Field of the Use of Atomic Energy in the Russian Federation” (RTTN) program. They range from developing a plasma engine for interplanetary missions to building a small-scale atomic power station in Yakutia and achieving plasma retention in a tokamak chamber.

A tokamak is a device that uses a strong magnetic field to contain plasma in a torus, a shape resembling a ring donut. Its purpose is to generate energy from controlled nuclear fusion.

“The creation of a plasma rocket engine with a power of several hundred kilowatts in the future will allow our country to achieve technological leadership in this area and reach a new level of space exploration, carry out interplanetary flights, and exchange cargo regularly between the Earth and the Moon,” the press release said.

Other significant accomplishments include the construction of the first Russian small-scale atomic power station in Yakutia and the installation of the multi-purpose fast neutron research reactor (MBIR) vessel at JSC “SSC RIAR” in Dimitrovgrad, Ulyanovsk region. Plasma with thermonuclear electron temperature was confined in the T-15MD tokamak for over two seconds at the National Research Center “Kurchatov Institute.”RussiaSpace Advancement: Russia Wraps Up New Engine for Soyuz-5 Rocket23 June 2023, 14:02 GMTThese feats demonstrate a record for Russian installations and have set a record in world practice for reaching such indicators since the installation’s power start-up.Work has been done on a new methodology for accelerated material testing, which will significantly reduce the time required to develop innovative materials for reactor installations.This opens up opportunities for rapid implementation of new technologies and increases the efficiency of nuclear power.In total, more than 80 scientific research and experimental design projects were carried out within the framework of the RTTN program in 2023, highlighting the industry and innovative potential of Rosatom’s scientific division.RussiaRussia Test-Fires Satellite Thruster Powered by Krypton3 March 2023, 13:27 GMT

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