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[i]The three surviving space shuttle orbiters – Atlantis, Discovery, and Endeavour – and the atmospheric test article Enterprise are proudly ensconced in museums around the U.S., but the Soviet-era Buran is a forgotten relic.
A Buran flew one unpiloted mission in 1988, returning intact to the long runway near its launch pad on the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Although superficially a twin of the U.S. orbiters, Buran was the only one to land on autopilot.
There are a few surviving mockups -– notably in Moscow's Gorky Park -– but the flightworthy Buran was destroyed on May 12, 2002, when a roof at Baikonur's Site 112 collapsed, apparently from a combination of poor maintenance and a heavy burden of snow.
The collapse is believed to have killed eight maintenance workers. It crushed the flight Buran...[/i]
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