Izvestiya vuzov. Yadernaya Energetika

The peer-reviewed scientific and technology journal. ISSN: 0204-3327

V.Ya. Pupko and space nuclear power

12/25/2016 2016 - #04 History of science

Kukharchuk O.F. Linnik V.A. Pyshko A.P. Yuriev Yu.S.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.26583/npe.2016.4.08

UDC: 621.039.577:362

The Article is prepared and devoted to the 90-th anniversary of Victor Yakovlevich Pupko who initiated development of space nuclear power in Russia.

In the presented Article the certain historic backgrounds for formation and development of Russian space nuclear power are considered, namely: nuclear propulsions (NP), space nuclear power installations (NPI), direct conversion of nuclear energy to the energy of laser emission, photon nuclear propulsion for investigation of distant planets of Solar System and rendezvous missions to the Alpha Centauri star system, annihilation gamma-ray laser. All mentioned subjects were in the sphere of activities of Victor Pupko in the last years of his life.

The role played by Victor Pupko in development of highlighted area of research and science is described. Victor Ya. Pupko was an outstanding scientist, Professor, Doctor of Science in physics and mathematics, State Prize Winner of the USSR, Honored Worker of Science and Engineering. He was awarded the Order of October Revolution, two Orders of the Red Banner of Labor. In 1995 Victor Pupko and Georgy Gryaznov (NPO «Krashaya Zvezda») were recipients of the Schreiber-Spence Achievement Award «For Outstanding Contributions to Space Nuclear Power and Propulsion» (the USA, Los Alamos National Laboratory).

The complicated historical way with peculiar conflicts is studied, experience and results of construction of ten domestic nuclear propulsions and space nuclear power installations with direct conversion of thermal energy to electricity, namely installations BUK and TOPAZ are described. Installations BUK operated in space over twenty years. Two prototypes of installation TOPAZ have passed successful flight tests in space.

The comparative analysis of history of Russian and world experience of development and application of nuclear power for conquest of outer space is presented by examples of power ground-based tests of thermoelectric nuclear power installations (NPI) such as ROMASHKA, SNAP-10A, BUK, thermionic NPIs such as TOPAZ, YENISEI and operating in space NPIs, namely: SNAP-10A, BUK, TOPAZ.

It is highlighted that many experts from different departments of JSC «SSC RF-IPPE» and associate companies took part in development of space nuclear power. Successful space operation of NPIs BUK and TOPAZ was realized first of all due to efforts of scientists and specialists of leading nuclear power enterprises and institutes.

Over a long period the creative scientific activities of Victor Pupko were targeted to the space nuclear power.

Being the Leader of scientific direction on space NPIs over thirty years, Victor Pupko has organized a unique science school on space nuclear power that now is among the leading ones in the world.

As a member of State Commission, Victor Pupko participated in all launchings of space nuclear power installations.


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space nuclear power nuclear propulsions nuclear installations direct conversion of energy comparative analysis domestic and foreign installations