Delegation of the European Union to Russia

“If a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, how does a journey around the solar system start?”

Moscow, 06/04/2017 - 10:36, UNIQUE ID: 170406_4
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The Horizon 2020 European funded DEMOCRITOS project concluded its work today with some key outcomes reported in a workshop at the Delegation of the European Union to the Russian Federation in Moscow.

A consortium of European space research interests, DEMOCRITOS is aimed at investigating the demonstration and future prototyping activities required to bring forward technologies for high power space transportation using nuclear electric propulsion (NEP).

The Moscow workshop saw experts from Europe, Russia, Japan and Brazil exchange information, findings and presentations around the future of solar system exploration including the steps necessary to enable high power, high payload mass space transportation technologies for an international ‘High Power Space Transportation Program’ – calling the APOLLO or ISS of the 2020th and beyond. These envisage:

  • Large scale deep space exploration missions (e.g. Jupiter moon Europa, Mars, Moon and asteroids and beyond).
  • Reducing the radiation load of astronauts and fast tracking human Mars missions.
  • Building an Earth-Moon or Earth-Mars space tug system.
  • Establishment of human habitats on Moon or Mars.
  • Deflection of dangerous Near-Earth objects like asteroids.

The next decades will bring new challenges for robotic and human exploration of our solar system. Experts believe that the development of high-power electric propulsion systems, using nuclear power sources, can significantly contribute to the implementation of deep space missions.

The DEMOCRITOS project ( was a collaboration of European and Russian teams in the field of Nuclear Electric Propulsion. The consortium members were the European Science Foundation (ESF), the French Space Agency CNES (France), the Nuclear National Laboratory (NNL/UK), the German Space Agency DLR (Germany), the Keldysh Research Centre (Russia), Thales Alenia Space Italia (TASI/Italy) and Airbus Safran Launchers (ASL/France).

In addition to the members of the project consortium, experts from NASA Glenn Research Center, the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA), Airbus DS Germany  and from Brazil participated in various project activities and offered their inputs.


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