Buran. The Soviet Space Shuttle

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In our recent publications we’ve told about the world’s heaviest and largest jet Antonov or AN-225 that was designed for the Soviet space program in 1988 and able to airlift the Energia rocket’s boosters and Buran about which we’ve told as well.

On the next photos one can see the complete process of launching Buran into the space orbit.

And here you can find a photo session from Ukrainian site about what is now with Buran.

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35 thoughts on “Buran. The Soviet Space Shuttle”

    • Yes, it’s being continued. Now it’s called ‘Clipper’. It’s much smaller yet cheaper than Buran. Have a look here http://www.buran.ru/htm/cliper.htm. Just scroll down to the last two – rotating – pics. Also, have a look at the whole family of designes from many countries; some of them realised (Buran; SpaceShuttle) some not: http://www.buran.ru/htm/family.htm

  1. After the fall of the USSR, at the end of 1991, the subventions started to miss. Moreover, the lake of need for the Buran-Energia project became increasingly obvious, in spite of few missions planned to supply MIR with Buran. Lastly, the cold war ended the russian military do not need such a machine and decided to turn off the faucet. In 1993 the financing is stopped, there is not even enough money to close the project.

    Buran becomes property of Kazakhstan. The tests models remain few years in hangars then are moved outside to make room. The hangar 112 which shelters Buran 1.01 (the only model to have flown) and Energia is opened to visitors, but due to lack of maintenance it fell in in May 2002, destroying Buran-Energia and killing 7 workmen.

    No material of this project have been re-used until now, except for the engines of the first stage of Energia (rocket Zenith) which powered the launcher Sea Launch. It seems that all the work achieved by these engineers, technicians and workmen was a big waste.

  2. Remarkable photos of a space vehicle that never reached its full potential. There weren’t enough Rubles to go around in the early 90’s to keep it going. In retrospect, the MIR project was much more significant than Buran, which is why it got the limited funds that were available. However, suggesting that Buran was more durable than the Space Shuttle is a stretch. Buran flew once, unmanned, for two orbits. Shuttles have 1,000’s of hours in space over hundreds of flights. Only two fatal events in over 25 years of operation is actually pretty impressive considering the risks and technical challenges of space flight. It is questionable if Buran could have bettered that performance over 25 years of use. But let us honor all cosmonauts and astronauts who have given their lives in the exploration of space. The Buran met a sad end, but its spirit endures.

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  10. Hi, I’m Anil and I’m Indian. Even though I’m not from Russia I like a lot about Russia and Soviet Era and the Russian Space and Nuclear Programmes. This website which I found while browsing was really good and I have found a lot of pictures of the Soviet era which are not found in other websites. I started browsing the website at 11pm IST and stated until 1.14am and still more are there to see. Thanks to people who built this website and also thanks and congrats to the people who shot the photos good.

    I was very much fascinated and amazed by the Russian Space Programme. It was a huge hit, but sad that the BURAN Programme went off as soon as it started. Its a really awesome machine and is symbol for Man’s knowledge, perspiration, hardwork and commitment. Too bad that the Russian (Soviet era people) could not take care of the Mighty Machines which is the result of 20years of intelligent hardwork of Soviet Union era people and which brought pride to the Soviet Space Programme. Look at the US and other countries how they are preserving the machines and displaying them with pride.I felt very bad when I saw the pictures of one Buran being transported from Baikanour to some other place and how it was transported.

    Atleast now the Soviet era nations should take some intiative and should preserve the Buran’s and other machines and should be displayed to the public so that the future generations would see and learn about the Good old Soviet Space programmes and Machines.

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