Buran - The Soviet Shuttle
January 23, 2011 7:04 AM Subscribe
posted by jontyjago (49 comments total)
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In 1976, in response to NASA's development of the Space Shuttle, the USSR began it's own reusable launcher program, the Buran
(Snowstorm), based at the Baikonur Cosmodrome
in what is now Kazakhstan.
Believing the primary use of the US Shuttle to be that of a missile carrier, the Soviets developed their own resusable space system, the Buran - Energia throughout the late 1970s and the 1980s. Principal design
differences included the fact that the Energia booster system could be used independently of the Buran Shuttle vehicle and that the Buran boasted an automatic landing system.
It was only launched once
(unmanned), on November 15th 1988, and it completed 2 orbits and landed safely back at site 251. (avi of landing
, Google map of launch site
, Google map of landing site
With the collapse of the Soviet Union the program was officially abandoned in 1992, although incorrect rumours of its revival circulated in 2001. These were definitively quashed in 2002 when the roof of the assembly and processing building at Site 112
collapsed due to lack of funds to pay repair teams.
Although the Cosmodrome is still in use for Soyuz launches to the ISS, Site 110
, once the heart of the Soviet Space program, now sits decaying and unused