Image credit: Roscosmos

Calling it the most expensive “abandonment” in the world, a new Russian Roscosmos Telegram posting has spotlighted the former Soviet Union’s Buran spaceship.

“In total, five Buran flight ships were to be created in the Soviet Union, but only two were fully assembled. The third was supposed to go into space in 1994 and was 50% ready at the time the program was closed,” the posting explains.

Until 2004, the unique spacecraft stood in the shops of the Tushino plant, now – in the museum of equipment of Vadim Zadorozhny in Arkhangelsk. “Backlogs on the fourth and fifth ships were destroyed,” the Roscosmos Telegram adds.

The Buran made an uncrewed flight in November 1988, circuiting the Earth twice prior to carrying out an autopilot landing at the Baikonur cosmodrome.

Image credit: Roscosmos

Combat space stations

“Energia-Buran is the most expensive and resource-intensive space program in the USSR, more than 1,200 enterprises participated in it,” the posting explains. Launched in 1974, the Energia-Buran effort ran in parallel with the similar American Space Shuttle project.

“Unlike the American twin, Buran could fly unmanned. It was launched into orbit by a two-stage Energiya, the most powerful domestic launch vehicle,” the posting says.

“One of the main tasks of ‘Buran’ was the launch of combat space stations into orbit. The Energia-Buran program was closed in 1993 after the collapse of the USSR,” the Roscosmos Telegram posting concludes.

Go to this video showcasing the launch of the Energia-Buran at:

https://youtu.be/ASQl2b0-yDQ

 

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