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:
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 (www.h2020-democritos.eu) 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.