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  Buran space shuttle: anniversaries and memories

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Author Topic:   Buran space shuttle: anniversaries and memories
dom
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Posts: 470
From:
Registered: Aug 2001

posted 11-15-2008 10:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Today's the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Soviet shuttle Buran... so here's a nostalgia look back at a brief moment when it really looked like the Space Shuttle had a rival!

Jay Chladek
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From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 11-16-2008 04:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very cool find!

nasamad
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From: Essex, UK
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posted 11-16-2008 04:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I still find it amazing that the orbital flight was flown unmanned!

Rick Mulheirn
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From: England
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posted 11-16-2008 05:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great footage!

Daniel Lazecky
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Posts: 365
From: Czech Republic-Europe
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posted 11-16-2008 06:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Daniel Lazecky   Click Here to Email Daniel Lazecky     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Glory vinners, honour loser. Backwoodsmann was though as far as second, but this machine and his builders will deserve same respect and repect.

Viva Shuttle viva Buran.

SpaceCadet83
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Posts: 38
From: Enid, OK, United States
Registered: Oct 2007

posted 11-16-2008 12:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceCadet83   Click Here to Email SpaceCadet83     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"It reminds me of the heady days of Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin...."

- Captain Marko Ramius
The Hunt for Red October

Excellent footage! Thanks for posting it!

David Stephenson
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Posts: 291
From: England
Registered: Mar 2003

posted 11-22-2008 05:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Stephenson   Click Here to Email David Stephenson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for posting, I always wonder how much things would have been different if Buran had got its chance.

music_space
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Posts: 1052
From: Canada
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 11-24-2008 04:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for music_space   Click Here to Email music_space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wonder too, and I wish that the Buran system luminati among us care to volunteer a bit of what-ifs, had the Buran program proceeded as planned. How different would have been the exploitation of the US STS? Would we have seen some Shuttle-Buran Test Project (with Deke as CDR, of course)? How would it have affected the ISS schedule? Was the Buran system safer than the ISS by design?

gliderpilotuk
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From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 11-26-2008 03:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by nasamad:
I still find it amazing that the orbital flight was flown unmanned!
Me too. Funny how little credit this achievement is given.

machbusterman
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Posts: 1659
From: Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland
Registered: May 2004

posted 11-29-2008 03:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for machbusterman   Click Here to Email machbusterman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I may be mistaken but I am sure I read somewhere that the Space Shuttle was designed with the ability to have a fully automated flight profile in order for it to be man-rated. NASA chose to fly the first flight manned in order to save money/time as the program was already well over budget and a few years behind schedule.

I think it was a terrible shame that Buran was mothballed after only this one unmanned flight... Had it gone into service one of the first cosmonauts to fly it would have been Alexander Volkov. He mentioned this in his lecture that I attended a few years ago.

mercsim
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Posts: 139
From: Phoenix, AZ
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 11-29-2008 12:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mercsim   Click Here to Email mercsim     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I thought the first approach looked a little flat so I studied it a little closer and noticed the jet engines and different color scheme. I went to YouTube and searched on 'Buran' and found lots of neat videos. There was some cockpit footage and some lift-off footage of the shuttle flying with the jet engines. I didn't realize it flew test flights like this. Very Cool!

Delta7
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Posts: 1192
From: Ossian IN USA
Registered: Oct 2007

posted 11-29-2008 03:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by machbusterman:
I think it was a terrible shame that Buran was mothballed after only this one unmanned flight... Had it gone into service one of the first cosmonauts to fly it would have been Alexander Volkov. He mentioned this in his lecture that I attended a few years ago.
If memory serves me, I seemed to have read somewhere that Igor Volk was to have commanded the first manned Buran flight, with another cosmonaut, Aleksandr Shchukin, who was eventually killed in a plane crash. The late Anatoli Levchenko was a member of the original backup crew.

Jay Chladek
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From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 11-30-2008 10:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The big thing about Buran is the system was about four to six years away from a second flight after that first test and the second one was planned to be unmanned as well with a docking to Mir by an orbiter with a full life support system. At Mir, the cosmonauts would have boarded the shuttle and conducted tests of the Buran's version of the RMS. I don't think a manned flight was planned until flight three or four. Of course, the Soviet Union collapsed before that could happen and the program was cancelled not long after by the new Russian government since it was very costly (some attribute Buran as a reason for the collapse of the Soviet Union).

I think part of the reason for the stretching out of Buran's schedule mainly had to do with Challenger as at the time of STS-51L, Discovery was planned to fly the first mission from Vandenberg that year and this is what concerned the Soviets the most as it meant the shuttle then had a military polar orbit capability. It was the military aspects of shuttle that had them scrambling to develop Buran and I'm sure the SDI program of the 1980s didn't help matters either. When plans for Vandenberg launches got cancelled, the military aspects of Buran probably became less of a priority.

If Buran had existed today, I imagine the world would be very different. Be it the Soviets or a Russian government, we probably would not have an ISS and instead the station in orbit more then likely would be closer to Space Station Freedom as it was originally intended. Granted there might be some international missions, but the what if waters start to get a bit murky.

As it stands though, one element of Buran is still flying today and has been a vital element of ISS shuttle flights. This is the docking device used by the shuttle to dock with the ISS. It was first developed for Buran to dock with Mir and it continues to be used today by the NASA shuttle program.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 28145
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-15-2013 09:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Today (Nov. 15, 2013) marks the 25th anniversary of the first and only launch of Russia's Buran space shuttle.

I had a chance to see the flight article at the Baikonur Cosmodrome on April 24, 2002. Just 18 days later, the roof of the building collapsed, destroying the shuttle.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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From: Toms River, NJ,USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 11-15-2013 11:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Now, if there was only a photo of you in Buran's cockpit...

Does this mean you're one of the few people who have seen or been in all the orbiters - all six of the US shuttles and Buran, not including the unfinished Russian ones? (What about the ones with the jet engines that were used for the Russian ALTs?)

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 28145
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-15-2013 04:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Unfortunately, there was no opportunity to go inside the Buran, given its position atop the pressurized Energia booster.

With regards to seeing all the orbiters, I never saw Challenger (I was in sixth grade when it was lost).

With regards to Buran(s), in addition to the flight article, I have seen the OK-GLI (when it was at Zhukovsky Air Base, before ultimately landing in the Technik Museum Speyer in Germany); the Buran prototype in Gorky Park, Moscow; and the test model OK-M before it was moved and restored at the museum in Baikonur.

Shuttle Endeavour
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posted 11-15-2013 04:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Shuttle Endeavour     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I know the snowstorm destroyed Buran, but I have heard that the Shuttle was restored. Is this true?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 28145
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-15-2013 09:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Snowstorm is the English translation of Buran.

The hangar collapse that resulted in the destruction of the flight article Buran was the result of tar being loaded onto the roof for repairs. The weight of the tar brought the roof down and in the process, punctured the pressurized Energia booster, in turn blowing out the orbiter.

It was damaged well beyond repair and the pieces were scrapped/recycled.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

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From: Houston, TX
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posted 11-15-2013 09:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
National Air and Space Museum curator Cathleen Lewis reflects on the 25th anniversary in her blog, The Soviet Buran Shuttle: One Flight, Long History:

Amid much international speculation and after many delays, the Soviet Union launched the Buran (Snowstorm), its first full-scale reusable space shuttle, on November 15, 1988. Although they tested the Buran extensively in the Earth’s atmosphere with trained pilots, the maiden, and only, orbital launch was made without a crew. The Buran launched strapped onto the Energia launch vehicle, the largest among Soviet launch vehicles. It resembled the American shuttle quite closely — not by coincidence. Through espionage, the Soviets obtained the design specifications of the US shuttle...

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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From: Toms River, NJ,USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 11-15-2013 10:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
punctured the pressurized Energia booster
The question is, why was it pressurized? To maintain structural integrity? Isn't there a better way to do so? And is the ET on which Pathfinder is mounted pressurized?

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 28145
From: Houston, TX
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posted 11-15-2013 10:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Energia booster, like the original incarnations of the U.S. Atlas booster, employed a pressure-stabilized propellant tank design (the U.S. external tank did not).

Using pressure, rather than support beams and stringers, to maintain the tank's shape and structure, cuts down on the overall weight of the booster, but does have its tradeoffs (such as in this case).

BMckay
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Posts: 1961
From: MA, USA
Registered: Sep 2002

posted 11-16-2013 01:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BMckay   Click Here to Email BMckay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Hart Sastrowardoyo:
Now, if there was only a photo of you in Buran's cockpit...
Here is a picture of inside of the Buran Test Vehicle outside the museum at Baikinor taken two years ago.

Max Q
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From: Whyalla South Australia
Registered: Mar 2007

posted 11-17-2013 04:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Max Q   Click Here to Email Max Q     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I know I'm a voice in the wilderness on this but I still feel it was sad that America chose to fly manned first up. Kudos for the Soviets for showing the way. Pity it never flew as long as the shuttle.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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From: Toms River, NJ,USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 11-17-2013 02:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
The Energia booster, like the original incarnations of the U.S. Atlas booster, employed a pressure-stabilized propellant tank design (the U.S. external tank did not).
That I did not know about the Soviet Energia. So a Challenger-type scenario would have been worse, although the same outcome.

All times are CT (US)

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