MINI ALMANAC


Calendar

Moon phase


Highlights:

NOBEL MEDICINE 2004

IG-NOBEL PRIZES
2004

Concerned Scientists write to Bush

Economics Nobel 2003

Chemistry Nobel 2003

Medicine Nobel 2003
Literature Nobel 2003

Physics Nobel 2003

Life on Mars ?
Rosalind Franklin and the Discovery of Double Helix

Good Bye Dolly
On Stonehenge
The Loss of Columbia
IG Nobel 2002
The invention of :-)
West Nile Virus
Asteroid Impact?
Molecule Hunt
Tuxedo Park
Ancient Trade Routes
Pop Singer to Fly In Space
Great Ideas
Baraka

The Universe in a Nutshell
Copenhagen, the Play
Count of Monte Cristo
Nobel Prize 2001
John Nash
Echelon
Kernel Methods

Ig-Nobel Prize
Einstein's Brain
Space Turism
Floating City
Mir's Blast
Origins
Great Books
Nobel Prize
In the mind of:
Serial Killers
The secret shuttle
Are we aliens?
Studying ET
Dinosaurs
Bonobo
Pattern Analysis
Early Vibrators
and Hysteria
The CYB.ORGs
among us
Book: Darwin
Book: Russell

 

BURAN: the Russian Shuttle

It is one of the less known stories of the cold war and space race: the secret soviet shuttle program.

Although it has now been abandoned, the Buran program was a huge investiment and did produce at least one (unmanned) space mision.


The Russian Shuttle Buran ("Snowstorm" in Russian) was authorized in 1976 in response to the United States' Space Shuttle program. Building of the shuttles began in 1980, with the first full-scale Aero-Buran rolling out in 1984.

The first suborbital test flight of a scale model of Buran took place in July 1983. There were five additional flights of the scale model in following years. Aerodynamic tests of the full-scale Buran analogue began in 1984. This aero-Buran was worn out after 24 test flights and would not fly again. The last of these aerodynamic test flights was in April 1988.

The first and only orbital launch of the shuttle Buran was at 3:00 GMT on November 15, 1988. The flight was unmanned, as the life support system had not been checked out and the CRT displays had no software installed. The vehicle was launched on the powerful Energiya booster into an 247 by 256 km orbit at 51.6 degrees inclination. The Buran orbited the Earth twice before firing its thrusters for reentry. The flight ended at 6:25 GMT when the vehicle touched down at Tyuratum. The Buran 1 mission was limited to 2 orbits due to computer memory limitations.

Although the first orbital flight of Buran was unmanned, it demonstrated much promise. The autopilot that landed the shuttle was able to overcome a 34 mph crosswind to land within 5 feet of the runway center line. Also, of the 38,000 heat shield tiles that covered Buran, only 5 were missing.



After the first flight of Buran, funding for the project was cut. Although the project wasn't officially canceled until 1993, much of the work was halted long before that date. There were two other Buran shuttles under construction. The second orbiter, "Ptichka" ("Little Bird" in Russian) was originally scheduled for completion in 1990. The third Buran was due in 1992. Neither was finished. In November 1995, the partially completed shuttles were dismantled at their production site.

The reasons of this cancellation were probably economic. The manufacturing plant is scheduled to be converted for production of buses, syringes, and diapers.

(Informations from NASA and Russian Space Agency)

For other stories of the secret soviet space program,
we recommend:

Korolev : How One Man Masterminded the Soviet Drive to Beat America to the Moon
by James Harford

Amazon.com
The history of the intensely secretive Soviet space program makes a riveting backdrop to this lucid biography of the dominant figure in that program, Sergei Korolev (1907-66). A brilliant engineer and superb organizer,... Read more

 

Va Pensiero - Copyright 2004- In association with Amazon.com

 

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an account of the dramatic accidents on Mir in 1997

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