Russia, U.S. to cooperate on nuclear-powered spacecrafts

13:56, April 05, 2011      

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The Russian Federal Space Agency ( Roscosmos) and the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have agreed to cooperate in developing nuclear engines for spacecrafts, local media reported on Monday.

Citing Roscosmos' head Anatoly Perminov in Kazakh Baikonur space center, reports said Russia has initiated to jointly build nuclear-powered engines with NASA by 2019 and use these engines for flights to Mars.

Such an engine will make the flight to Mars 20 times faster, Perminov said, adding that the meeting between he and his NASA counterpart Charles Bolden was scheduled on April 15.

Meanwhile, Perminov confirmed the launch of an unmanned lander to one of the moons of Mars is scheduled for October this year.

The Phobos-Grunt spacecraft will be sent to the surface of Phobos, carrying with it a Chinese micro-satellite YH-1, the country's first Mars probe.

Perminov also said that Russia might resume space tourism program in two years, with the "ticket" price at about 50 million U.S. dollars.

He added that Russia planned to increase the number of its Soyuz spaceships launches starting from 2013 and to include Ukrainian and Kazakh cosmonauts into their crews.

Perminov also revealed Russia will build an additional launching site at Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan by the end of 2011.

On April 5, a Russian spacecraft Soyuz TMA-21 with three astronauts on board will be launched from Baikonur space center.

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