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Russian scientists in 1976 developed a new space system that was very similar to the US space shuttle. The new space shuttle was named [i]Buran,[/i] which translates in Russian to "snow storm". When compared, there are a few differences between the Russian Buran and the US Space Shuttle. The Buran is bigger than all the American counterparts. Moreover, unmanned flights were possible with the Buran.
The Buran 002 is the test version of the shuttle, with engines, used between 1984 and 1988 for a total of 25 atmospheric flights.
Because of the enormous cost, the Russian Buran Project was canceled by Russian president Michael Gorbachev after its first successful space flight in 1988.
How did the Technik Museum Sinsheim/Speyer come to own Buran? The Buran at stake had been at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, brought there on loan for exhibition to the public. After the display in Australia, the Buran went on exhibition in Manama, Bahrain. The Buran then was moved to the Manama port where it was stored in a closed storage space.
The museum team followed the Buran for over 10 years. After the exhibition in Bahrain, the museum bought the Russian Buran from its owners. The purchase contract noted that the Buran was free of third party claims but a short time after the signing, the museum learned of a businessman from Singapore, who claimed ownership before a Bahraini court.
The museum fought the charges for 4.5 years during which time about 20 individual cases were ruled in the museum's favor.
The whole museum staff is delighted that it has now added a new chapter to the history of the Buran. The Buran was loaded from the Manama, Bahrain port onto a pontoon, which then transferred the shuttle to an ocean freighter. This was a great moment for the museum team.
Overseeing the move was Michael Walter, the museum's managing director, Lorenz Glück, the museum's counsel, and Holger Hamann, the museum's chief engineer, who proudly reported success. The vessel is now in international waters and is heading to Europe. If everything goes as planned, the Buran will arrive in Rotterdam, the Netherlands at the end of March.
Preparations for the arrival of the Buran at the Technology Museum in Speyer is in full swing. To accommodate the Buran, it was necessary to build a new 22-metre-high museum hall. The steel skeleton of the hall is already done. Now, with the pressure increased, the roof and floor will be finished in time for Buran's arrival.
The museum has budgeted nearly $10 million for the Buran and its display.
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