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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. It was a response to the United States Space Shuttle program. The project was the largest and the most expensive in the history of Soviet space exploration. 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.
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
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.[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. 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. 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
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
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.
NASA 747 and Antonov An-225 comparison
Buran Launch and Landing
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.
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.
The Buran orbiter which flew the test flight was crushed in the Buran hangar collapse on May 12, 2002 in Kazakhstan.
I have a feeling he is lurking ready to spring some good stuff.
Originally posted by butcherguy
Come on Zorgon, get the show on the road, I want to see the conspiracy stuff popping now!
I wonder which nation stole the design from the other?
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.
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.
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.
Originally posted by weedwhacker
Any guesses, now?
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