What Happened To Russia’s Space Shuttle Program?

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posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 03:15 PM
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Warning:
The following post may contain information which may be deemed
hazardous to ignorance.
Proceed with caution.
Remember you have been warned!



Being an avid space program and sci-fi nut all my life I have been fascinated with all things space. Starting with Sputnik all the way through the Soviet and US space race. Today while surfing the interwebs I came across this site What Happened To Russia’s Space Shuttle Program?. I did an ATS search under that title and came up with Zilch. So I thought I'd give it a go...

With the retirement of the US space shuttle looming I thought it would be cool to post info on the Soviet/Russian Buran shuttle and what happened to it. However before we get into what happened to their program let me post some comparison images. I wanted to share with our ATS members who were either too young to know or the less familiar with the old cold war competitors. This will mainly be a visual comparison between the two programs


Buran program

The Buran (Russian: Бура́н, IPA: [bʊˈran], Snowstorm or Blizzard) program was a Soviet and later Russian plan for a reusable spacecraft, that began in 1974 at TsAGI and formally suspended in 1993.[1] It was a response to the United States Space Shuttle program.[2] The project was the largest and the most expensive in the history of Soviet space exploration.[1] Development work included sending the BOR-5 on multiple sub-orbital test flights, and atmospheric flights of the OK-GLI. Buran completed one unmanned orbital spaceflight in 1988 before its cancellation in 1993.[1]

Although the Buran spacecraft was similar in appearance to the NASA Space Shuttle, and could similarly function as a re-entry spaceplane, the main engines during launch were on the Energia rocket and not taken into orbit on the spacecraft. The Buran program matched an expendable rocket to a reusable spaceplane.


US Shuttle and Soviet Buran visual comparison



US Shuttle and Soviet Buran dimensional comparison




Cross Section Comparison




US Shuttle and Soviet Buran Aft Comparison




US Shuttle and Soviet Buran Launchpad prep




US Shuttle and Soviet Buran Launch comparison



Buran

The only orbital launch of Buran occurred at 3:00 UTC on 15 November 1988 from Baikonur Cosmodrome Site 110/37. It was lifted into orbit unmanned by the specially designed Energia booster rocket. The life support system was partially installed and no software was installed to run the computer display screens.[1][dead link]. Though the first flight occurred more than four years behind schedule, the mission was successful. The automated launch sequence performed as specified, and the Energia booster lifted the vehicle into a temporary orbit before the orbiter separated as programmed.

After boosting itself to a higher orbit and completing two revolutions around the Earth, retrorockets fired automatically to begin the descent into the atmosphere. Exactly 206 minutes into the mission, the Buran orbiter landed, having lost only five of its 38,000 thermal tiles over the course of the flight.[3] The automated landing took place on a runway at Baikonur Cosmodrome where, despite a lateral wind speed of 61.2 kilometres per hour (38.0 mph), it landed only 3 metres (9.8 ft) laterally and 10 metres (33 ft) longitudinally from the target mark.[3] The unmanned flight was the first time that a spacecraft of this size and complexity had been launched, completed maneuvers in orbit, re-entered the atmosphere, and landed under automatic guidance.





US Shuttle and Soviet Buran Landings





Overview

Like its American counterpart, the Buran, when in transit from its landing sites back to the launch complex, was transported on the back of a large jet aeroplane. It was piggy-backed on the Antonov An-225 Mriya aircraft, which was designed in part for this task and remains the largest aircraft in the world.


US Shuttle and Soviet Buran transportation



Development

The Antonov An-225 was designed to airlift the Energia rocket's boosters and the Buran space shuttle for the Soviet space program. It was developed as a replacement for the Myasishchev VM-T. The An-225's original mission and objectives are almost identical to that of the United States' Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.[2]



Antonov An-225




NASA 747




NASA 747 and Antonov An-225 comparison





Buran Launch and Landing
Cool Music




So what happened to the Soviet/Russian Shuttle program? When the Soviet Union collapsed it all went downhill from there. Supposedly there are some still interested in some sort of program resurrection and as far as the Buran that flew? Well, it got itself squished
Apparently the building it was housed in collapsed



Buran
The Buran orbiter which flew the test flight was crushed in the Buran hangar collapse on May 12, 2002 in Kazakhstan. The OK-GLI resides in a museum.

Source
The governmental commission investigating the causes of the collapse of the roof reported determined the exact cause of the accident. However, by order of committee chairman Ilya Klebanov, that reason was kept secret. To this day, no one outside the Russian government knows what destroyed the shuttle.


But don't worry folks. I'm sure other members like Zorgon will come along and toss us a conspiracy or two about a secret Russian Space Shuttle fleet program etc




In which case I'll have to counter with some verifiable facts about ours.





And lastly here is a Shuttle tribute video I tossed together a year or so ago also with cool music.
Enjoy



(click to open player in new window)


edit on 2-3-2011 by SLAYER69 because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 03:24 PM
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Okay, I gave you a star and a flag for an excellently built post!

Come on Zorgon, get the show on the road, I want to see the conspiracy stuff popping now!



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 03:31 PM
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What is needed now is a drag race ,to see who shall rule the world.
Nice comparison ,personally i like the Russian shuttle and booster ,looks like it has a bit more grunt



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 03:32 PM
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reply to post by butcherguy
 


I have a feeling he is lurking ready to spring some good stuff.



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 03:34 PM
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Excellent post and interesting reading. Best comparison of the programs I have seen in a long time.

You forgot to mention how much technology the Soviets stole from us to make the Buran work. They didn't choose that nearly identical design by accident.



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 03:40 PM
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The Buran orbiter which flew the test flight was crushed in the Buran hangar collapse on May 12, 2002 in Kazakhstan.


That’s the sneakiest bunch of BS I've ever smelt. The roof caved in on the Russian government's greatest, most expensive, prized aircraft in their history....? Yeaaaahhhh f’n right! What did they drop an anvil on it?

The Russians were supposedly building four more too before the collapse. Just imagine how competitive and far along humanity's space capabilities would be if Russia had been using their shuttle the past two decades too! I can tell you we'd have a replacement for the U.S. shuttle right now that's for sure.

Sweet thread! S F
edit on 2-3-2011 by tooo many pills because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 03:42 PM
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reply to post by SLAYER69
 


Oh, he has it locked and loaded!!!! LOL....


I have a feeling he is lurking ready to spring some good stuff.


Last time this came up (has it already been TWO years?!?) I saw a link to Google Earth, and a photo of a Buran in Moscow....along the river. A little research shows that is part of a permanent public display, in a park or something....haven't thought about it for some time.


But, the Buran program, most likely (as I recall), was merely a victim of economics......and, although (did you cover this already??) it is an obvious knock-off in many ways (hinting at possible 'corporate' espionage of sorts), it also has some capabilities that surpass NASA's version. On paper, anyways....

Lacks any track record, and proven flight history experience to rival the Shuttle, of course though....
edit on 2 March 2011 by weedwhacker because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 03:43 PM
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The similarity between the two is astounding Isn't it?
I wonder which nation stole the design from the other?



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 03:46 PM
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reply to post by tooo many pills
 
Dammit WW, you're all facts and figures.

What have you done with Zorgon?

Seriously, that is what I always heard about the Buran, economics killed the Buran. Look at our shuttles, they are almost at the end now.

Nice that Slayer put the X37B there in that final photo, eh?


+1 more 
posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 03:46 PM
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Nah Zorgon retired


But you can have some of my old stuff


Burans Everywhere







Buran OK-ML-1 Static Test Model







Buran OK 2.01 "Baikal"



Two Buran's in Storage one is "Ptichka"
Baikonur Cosmodrome
Building 80, Area 112A



Shuttle Buran & Antonov AN225 Mriya

edit on 2-3-2011 by zorgon because: (no reason given)


+1 more 
posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 03:48 PM
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Originally posted by butcherguy
Come on Zorgon, get the show on the road, I want to see the conspiracy stuff popping now!


No way Jose... what I do the legwork and he gets the flags?


6 pages of Buran stuff here... been there done that


www.thelivingmoon.com...




edit on 2-3-2011 by zorgon because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 03:49 PM
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reply to post by tooo many pills
 


I left the who stole what from whom out of it. I applaud both NASA and the Soviet/Russian programs. I wish there were less "Secret/Military" and more civilian aspects.


Some day soon i hope!



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 03:50 PM
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reply to post by CholmondleyWarner
 



I wonder which nation stole the design from the other?


What do you think?

Soviets began theirs in 1974.

USA?:


The Shuttle program was formally launched on January 5, 1972, when President Nixon announced that NASA would proceed with the development of a reusable Space Shuttle system.


But....


Even before the Apollo moon landing in 1969, in October 1968 NASA began early studies of space shuttle designs. The early studies were denoted "Phase A", and in June 1970, "Phase B", which were more detailed and specific.


www.century-of-flight.net...

Any guesses, now?



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 03:53 PM
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Originally posted by SLAYER69
I left the who stole what from whom out of it. I applaud both NASA and the Soviet/Russian programs. I wish there were less "Secret/Military" and more civilian aspects.



There are no secrets between Russia and the USA... it's all a ruse to keep the public bamboozled. The whole cold war was a ruse... even Wernher von Braun told us thta, just before he retired at 66 and died shortly thereafter of 'cancer', just like Ben Rich did shortly after he retired...

Hmmmm good thing I am not into conspiracies eh?

:shk:



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 03:54 PM
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reply to post by zorgon
 


I knew you had a bunch of stuff stashed away. That's why I kept away from posting them. I figured you'd spring some stuff on us.




posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 03:55 PM
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Originally posted by weedwhacker
Any guesses, now?


SPIRAL - Russian Small One Man Space Plane hehehe

And what about the Almaz secret space station that was the counterpart for MOL? At least Russia had theirs in orbit



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 03:56 PM
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I'm curious to know, just how is it the US shuttle looks so similar to the USSR style. Its known fact that spying, and espionage was part of that era. I wonder if we " liberated " the schematics for the shuttle, from our good " Red " friends.

I think the Russian Program ended to funding didn't it? I mean I'm more knowledgeable about their navy, and the reasons why their submarine program was drastically reduced. But the shuttle is another game.



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 03:57 PM
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Originally posted by 12voltz
What is needed now is a drag race ,to see who shall rule the world.
Nice comparison ,personally i like the Russian shuttle and booster ,looks like it has a bit more grunt


Yeah it had.
Also their system was designed with more versatility. Which had it proceeded it could have been successful and had many potential commercial applications



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 04:00 PM
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reply to post by SLAYER69
 


Me too.



posted on Mar, 2 2011 @ 04:07 PM
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Whoa, nice work ! I'm in the company of giants and all I have is this tiny slingshot. My spousal unit always things I'm cyber-whacking moaning then catches me drooling all over this Shuttle Porn.


Is it safe to have Slayer and Zorgon in same thread? I mean from a National Security perspective? Heck if Phage shows up, we got our selves a Trifecta Brainiac Convention.

Cool stuff.

edit on 2-3-2011 by kinda kurious because: (no reason given)





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