Here’s the historical information on the nuclear Soyuz variants I have been able to find. My Russian is not great, in some cases the translation is awkward or not completely clear. Nick
The draft design of the rockets started on the basis of the Decree of June 30, 1958. Two bureaus, OKB-456, and OKB-670 were involved. The design chosen was based on direct heating of the working fluid, and it’s ejection through the nozzle. An open core reactor, in other words.
One member of the group was Sergey Korolov, who went on to become the chief designer, and mastermind behind all the early Soviet space firsts.
This rocket is the GIRD-X, the tenth project the group carried out.
There’s only really one good photo, and Russian museum items have so many obvious errors, they are useless for reference. So the finer details in this model are somewhat speculative. (Though I think there are clearly some ridges and wider sections not shown in other plans or models I have found).
This is an alternate design for the ship “Discovery” from the film 2001. In my view it is much inferior to the final version, but this is interesting. This one tends to self-shadow a lot for one thing, which makes it difficult to light. But note that the habitation sphere is identical to the final version used in the film – this element was about the only constant factor in the many design changes.
It is based on sketches in Chris Frayling’s excellent book “The 2001 Files”, and my version incorporates elements from several sketches.
I also did a turntable video of it, to show off the shape.
From other sketches it is clear that there are 48 fuel tanks just under the widest part of the vehicle.
My favourite film, without a doubt is the stunning “2001 A Space Odyssey”. Even all these years after its release, it still manages to look credible and futuristic.
I have now finished the model of the alternate design for the 2001 Space Station. This mesh is based on sketches in the excellent book “The 2001 File” by Christopher Frayling. The bulk of the book is the design sketches by Harry Lange that were done for the spacecraft concepts used in the film.
The sketches were basic, so I added lots of details from the design actually used in the film.
I’ve also made a short animated video to show it off, I recommend watching in HD if possible!