23:41 GMT25 July 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Russian nuclear-powered tug Zeus, which is equipped with a megawatt-class electric propulsion system, can be used to disable control systems of enemy spacecraft with an electromagnetic impulse and "shoot" with laser beams, according to a paper of the Arsenal design bureau (part of Russia's state space agency Roscosmos).

    In May, the Keldysh Research Centre released a paper showing that Zeus can be used in anti-aircraft defence, detecting air targets from the orbit and relaying information to anti-aircraft systems.

    "In 2018-2019, the Arsenal design bureau conducted the 'Yadro' [Core] research project that reviewed options for using a spacecraft with a megawatt-class nuclear power propulsion system to perform the following tasks — probing the Earth surface and the near-Earth air space from a distance; electromagnetic interference with electronic components of control, reconnaissance, communication and navigation systems; directed-energy laser emission," the Arsenal paper read.

    The Zeus nuclear-powered space tug is designed for deep space flights from one orbit to another. It has been in development since 2010. The spacecraft's preliminary design is expected to be finished by July 2024 and will cost 4.2 billion rubles ($56.3 million). Zeus is expected to be sent into space for test flights in 2030.

    Tags:
    spacecraft, defence, nuclear power, Russia
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