Encyclopedia Astronautica
11B97


Korolev nuclear electric/xenon rocket engine. 450 mN. Engine for Interorbital Tug for launch by Energia. Developed 1978-1986. Isp=3000s. Powered by nuclear reactor providing 50-150 kWt for 3 to 5 years operation.

Beginning in 1978 the 11B97 nuclear electric engine was studied for use in a reusable interorbital space tug for launch by Energia-Buran. In 1982, according to the decree of 5 February 1981, NPO Energia developed for the Ministry of Defence the interorbital tug Gerkules with 550 kWt maximum output and continuous operation in the 50-150 kWt range for 3 to 5 years. In 1986 a civilian interorbital tug was studied to solve the specific application of transporting heavy satellites of 100 tonnes to geostationary orbit, launched by Energia. All of these designs seem to have been essentailly similar; the figures given here are for the last study. The tug would have a propellant supply adequate for 16,000 hours of operation and three years of reactor life.

Status: Developed 1986-.
Thrust: 0.45 N (0.10 lbf).
Specific impulse: 3,000 s.
Burn time: 57,600,000 s.
First Launch: 1986-.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Interorbital Tug Russian space tug. Cancelled 1991. Upper stage / space tug - nuclear electric space tug, to be launched by Energia-2. Developed 1978-1991, ultimately cancelled. More...

See also
Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Korolev Russian manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Korolev Design Bureau, Kaliningrad, Russia. More...

Associated Propellants
  • Electric/Xenon The many versions of electric engines use electric or magnetic fields to accelerate ionized elements to high velocity, creating thrust. The power source can be a nuclear reactor or thermal-electric generator, or solar panels. Proposed as propellant for some ion motors. More...

Bibliography
  • Semenov, Yuri P Editor, Raketno-kosmicheskaya korporatsiya 'Energia' imeni S P Koroleva, Moscow, Russia, 1996.
  • Semenov, Yu. P., S P Korolev Space Corporation Energia, RKK Energia, 1994.

Associated Stages
  • ERTA Electric/Xenon propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 21,000/12,000 kg. Thrust 0.01 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 3000 seconds. At the beginning of the 1990's a new type of nuclear generator was studied, that would have a capacity of 150 kW in the transport role and provide 10-40 kW to power spacecraft systems while coasting. This was designated ERTA (ElecktroRaketnovo Transportnovo Apparat). More...
  • Interorbital Tug Electric/Xenon propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 65,700/15,700 kg. Thrust 0.03 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 3000 seconds. Beginning in 1978 the 11B97 nuclear electric engine was studied for use in a reusable interorbital space tug for launch by Energia-Buran. In 1982, according to the decree of 5 February 1981, NPO Energia developed for the Ministry of Defence the interorbital tug Gerkules with 550 kWt maximum output and continuous operation in the 50-150 kWt range for 3 to 5 years. In 1986 a civilian interorbital tug was studied to solve the specific application of transporting heavy satellites of 100 tonnes to geostationary orbit, launched by Energia. More...

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