Buran (spacecraft)

Buran (Russian: Бура́н, IPA: [bʊˈran], meaning "Snowstorm" or "Blizzard"; GRAU index serial number: "11F35 K1") was the first spaceplane to be produced as part of the Soviet/Russian Buran programme. It is, depending on the source, also known as "OK-1K1", "Orbiter K1", "OK 1.01" or "Shuttle 1.01". Besides describing the first operational Soviet/Russian shuttle orbiter, "Buran" was also the designation for the whole Soviet/Russian spaceplane project and its orbiters, which were known as "Buran-class spaceplanes".

OK-1K1 completed one unmanned spaceflight in 1988, and was destroyed in 2002 when the hangar it was stored in collapsed.[3] It remains the only Soviet reusable spacecraft to be launched into space. The Buran-class orbiters used the expendable Energia rocket, a class of super heavy-lift launch vehicle.

Buran on An-225 (Le Bourget 1989) (cropped).JPEG
Orbiter 1K1 at the 1989 Paris Air Show
Named after"Snowstorm"[1]
StatusDestroyed in a 2002 hangar collapse[2]
First flight15 November 1988[1]
Last flight15 November 1988[1]
No. of missions1[1]
Crew members0[1]
Time spent in space3 hours, 25 minutes, 22 seconds
No. of orbits2[1]


The construction of the Buran-class space shuttle orbiters began in 1980, and by 1984 the first full-scale orbiter was rolled out. Construction of a second orbiter (OK-1K2, informally known as Ptichka) started in 1988. The Buran programme ended in 1993.[4]

Operational history

Orbiter OK-1K1 Buran during launch on 15 November 1988

Orbital flight

The only orbital launch of a Buran-class orbiter occurred at 03:00:02 UTC on 15 November 1988 from Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad 110/37.[3][5] Buran was lifted into space, on an unmanned mission, by the specially designed Energia rocket. The automated launch sequence performed as specified, and the Energia rocket lifted the vehicle into a temporary orbit before the orbiter separated as programmed. After boosting itself to a higher orbit and completing two orbits around the Earth, the ODU (Russian: объединённая двигательная установка, сombined propulsion system) engines fired automatically to begin the descent into the atmosphere, return to the launch site, and horizontal landing on a runway.[6]

After making an automated approach to Site 251 (known as Yubileyniy Airfield),[3] Buran touched down under its own control at 06:24:42 UTC and came to a stop at 06:25:24,[7] 206 minutes after launch.[8] Despite a lateral wind speed of 61.2 kilometres per hour (38.0 mph), Buran landed only 3 metres (9.8 ft) laterally and 10 metres (33 ft) longitudinally from the target mark.[8][9] It was the first space shuttle to perform an unmanned flight, including landing in fully automatic mode.[10] It was later found that Buran had lost only eight of its 38,000 thermal tiles over the course of its flight.[9]

Projected flights

In 1989, it was projected that OK-1K1 would have an unmanned second flight by 1993, with a duration of 15–20 days.[11] Although the Buran programme was never officially cancelled, the dissolution of the Soviet Union led to funding drying up and this never took place.[4]

Other flights

In June 1989, Buran, carried on the back of the Antonov An-225, took part in the 1989 Paris Air Show. In 1990, it also appeared at the Farnborough Airshow. Another flight of the spacecraft did not occur as, together with the Energia carrier, it was later put in a hangar at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.


On 12 May 2002,[3] during a severe storm at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the MIK 112 hangar housing OK-1K1 collapsed as a result of poor maintenance. The collapse killed several workers and destroyed the craft as well as the Energia carrier rocket.[12]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Buran". NASA. 12 November 1997. Archived from the original on 4 August 2006. Retrieved 15 August 2006.
  2. ^ "Eight feared dead in Baikonur hangar collapse". Spaceflight Now. 16 May 2002.
  3. ^ a b c d "Buran". Russian Space Web. 15 October 2012. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  4. ^ a b Wade, Mark. "Buran". Encyclopedia Astronautics. Archived from the original on 20 December 2008. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  5. ^ "S.P.Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia held a ceremony..." Energia.ru. 14 November 2008. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  6. ^ Handwerk, Brian (12 April 2016). "The Forgotten Soviet Space Shuttle Could Fly Itself". National Geographic Society. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  7. ^ "Buran: 1st Flight". Buran-Energia.com. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  8. ^ a b Chertok, Boris (2005). Siddiqi, Asif A., ed. Raketi i lyudi [Rockets and People] (PDF). History Series. NASA. p. 179.
  9. ^ a b "Russia starts ambitious super-heavy space rocket project". Space Daily. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  10. ^ "Largest spacecraft to orbit and land unmanned". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  11. ^ "Экипажи "Бурана" Несбывшиеся планы". Buran.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 5 August 2006.
  12. ^ Whitehouse, David (13 May 2002). "Russia's space dreams abandoned". BBC News. Retrieved 14 November 2007.

Further reading

  • Hendrickx, Bart; Vis, Bert (2007). Energiya-Buran: The Soviet Space Shuttle. Springer-Praxis. p. 526. ISBN 978-0-387-69848-9.
  • Elser, Heinz; Elser-Haft, Margrit; Lukashevich, Vladim (2008). History and Transportation of the Russian Space Shuttle OK-GLI to the Technik Museum Speyer. Technik Museum Speyer. ISBN 978-3-9809437-7-2.

External links

1988 in the Soviet Union

The following lists events that happened during 1988 in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

2.03 (Buran-class spacecraft)

2.03 is the designation of the fifth Soviet/Russian space shuttle orbiter to be produced as part of the Buran programme. It carried the GRAU index serial number "11F35 K5" and is - depending on the source - also known as "OK-2K3", "Orbiter K5", "OK 2.03" or "Shuttle 2.03". It was never officially named.

2.03 was a second series shuttle orbiter, as shown by the '2' in its number. Construction of 2.03 was barely underway when the entire Soviet shuttle program was halted in 1993, and as what parts of it had been built were dismantled shortly afterwards. Nothing remained of it by 1995.

2002 in Russia

Events from the year 2002 in Russia.


Energia (Russian: Энергия, Energiya, "Energy") (GRAU 11K25) was a Soviet rocket that was designed by NPO Energia to serve as a heavy-lift partially recoverable launch system for a variety of payloads including the Buran spacecraft. Control system main developer enterprise was the Khartron NPO "Electropribor". The Energia used four strap-on boosters each powered by a four-chamber RD-170 engine burning kerosene/LOX, and a central core stage with 4 one-chamber RD-0120 (11D122) engines fueled by liquid hydrogen/LOX.The launch system had two functionally different operational variants: Energia-Polyus, the initial test configuration, in which the Polyus system was used as a final stage to put the payload into orbit, and Energia-Buran, in which the Buran spacecraft was the payload and the source of the orbit insertion impulse.

The rocket had the capacity to place about 100 tonnes in Low Earth orbit, up to 20 tonnes to geostationary orbit and up to 32 tonnes via translunar trajectory into lunar orbit.


HOPE was a Japanese experimental spaceplane project designed by a partnership between NASDA and NAL (both now part of JAXA), started in the 1980s. It was positioned for most of its lifetime as one of the main Japanese contributions to the International Space Station, the other being the Japanese Experiment Module. The project was eventually cancelled in 2003, by which point test flights of a sub-scale testbed had flown successfully.

List of cultural icons of Russia

This is a list of cultural icons of Russia. It contains the most important symbols of Russia, including its national symbols and symbols associated with various aspects of the Russian culture.

Mengon (air base)

Mengon is an air base in Amur Oblast, Russia located 17 km southwest of Elban. Its purpose is unknown; it may be a diversion or dispersal airbase for bombers from Zavitinsk (air base) or Ukrainka (air base). It has a very long runway and large tarmac. Long runway was designated as a "eastern alternate airport" for landing the Buran spacecraft.

NPO Molniya

NPO Molniya (lightning) (Russian: Научно-производственное объединение «Молния») is a Russian scientific and production enterprise, founded on February 26, 1976. Currently part of Rostec.

Outsize cargo

Outsize cargo is a designation given to goods of unusually large size. This term is often applied to cargo which cannot fit on standardized transport devices such as skids or pallets or containers. This includes military and other vehicles.In extreme cases, such as the space shuttle or Buran spacecraft, the cargo may be carried on the exterior, atop a large cargo aircraft.

Pavel Vinogradov

Pavel Vladimirovich Vinogradov (Russian: Павел Владимирович Виноградов; born August 31, 1953 in Magadan, USSR) is a cosmonaut and former commander of the International Space Station. As of May 2013, he has flown into space three times, aboard Mir and the International Space Station, and is one of the top 10 astronauts in terms of total time in space. Vinogradov has also conducted seven spacewalks in his cosmonaut career, and holds the record for the oldest person to perform a spacewalk.


"Buria" (Russian: "Буря", "Storm" or "Tempest"), or "Ptichka" (Russian: "Птичка","Birdie"), is an official nickname for the second Buran-class spaceplane, produced as part of the Soviet/Russian Buran programme, and inscribed on the ship's hull. It carried the GRAU index serial number 11F35 K2 and is - depending on the source - also known as "OK-1K2", "Orbiter K2", "OK 1.02" or "Shuttle 1.02".

OK-1K2 is distinguishable from the other Buran-class orbiters by a red framework attached to the top of its cargo bay doors.


The RD-58 (manufacturer designation 11D58) was a rocket engine, developed in the 1960s by OKB-1, now RKK Energia. The project was managed by Mikhail Melnikov, and it was based on the previous S1.5400 which was the first stage combustion engine in the world. The engine was initially created to power the Block D stage of the Soviet Union's abortive N-1 rocket. Derivatives of this stage are now used as upper stages on some Proton and Zenit rockets. An alternative version of the RD-58 chamber, featuring a shorter nozzle, was used as the N-1's roll-control engine.

The RD-58 uses LOX as the oxidizer and RG-1 as fuel in an oxidizer rich stage combustion cycle. It features a single gimbaled chamber, radial centrifugal pumps with auxiliary booster pumps, and an oxygen-rich preburner. Recent modifications include a lightweight carbon-composite nozzle extender developed by NPO Iskra.The Buran spacecraft used two of an evolution of the RD-58M, called 17D12, as its main orbital correction engines. Instead of RG-1, it burned Syntin, and could be ignited 15 times. It is assumed that it was the base for the RD-58S, which had practically the same specifications and powered the Blok DM-2M. But the manufacturer states that the engine is compatible with both propellants.The current version of the engine is the RD-58M (manufacturer designation 11D58M), which has slightly reduced thrust, but increased isp. An even newer version is under development and is known as the RD-58MF (manufacturer designation 11D58MF). It will reduce thrust to 49.03 kilonewtons (11,020 lbf) to keep the same length but increase expansion ratio to 500:1. This will enable it to gain 20s of isp (to an expected 372s). It will eventually fly on the Blok DM-03. This new version of the engine will be built in the Krasnoyarsk Machine-Building Plant. During a November 2014 interview, Vladimir Kolmykov, the Deputy General Director of the Chemical Division of Krasnoyarsk Machine-Building Plant, stated that the production of Block-DM was suspended during that year, but work on the stage and development of the RD-58MF will resume during 2015.

Snowstorm (disambiguation)

Snowstorm may refer to:

Winter Storm, a weather system responsible for significant snowfall over a region

Winter Storm (Kirov novel), a military alternative history novel by John Schettler

"Snowstorm toy", also known as snow globe

Snowstorm, a rock band in Gothenburg, Sweden

"Snowstorm", a song by Galaxie 500 from their 1989 album On Fire

"Snowstorm", a techno song by Fracus

"Snowstorm", a song by Wintersleep from their 2003 album Wintersleep

Snowstorm, California, former name of Termo, California

The Snowstorm: A Christmas Story, a book by Catherine Gore

The Snow-Storm, poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Snowstorm Records, a record label featuring acts such as Chris T-T

Buran (spacecraft), a Soviet space shuttle

SnowStorm, a popular game on Habbo Hotel

Snow Storm (G.I. Joe), a fictional character in the G.I. Joe universe

Snowstorm (film), a 1977 Yugoslav film directed by Antun Vrdoljak

Soyuz TM-3

Soyuz TM-3 was the third manned spacecraft to visit the Soviet space station Mir, following Soyuz-T15 and Soyuz-TM2. It was launched in July 1987, during the long duration expedition Mir EO-2, and acted as a lifeboat for the second segment of that expedition. There were three people aboard the spacecraft at launch, including the two man crew of the week-long mission Mir EP-1, consisting of Soviet cosmonaut Alexander Viktorenko and Syrian Muhammed Faris. Faris was the first Syrian to travel to space, and as of November 2010, the only one. The third cosmonaut launched was Aleksandr Aleksandrov, who would replace one of the long duration crew members Aleksandr Laveykin of Mir EO-2. Laveykin had been diagnosed by ground-based doctors to have minor heart problems, so he returned to Earth with the EP-1 crew in Soyuz TM-2.Soyuz TM-3 landed near the end of December 1987, landing both members of the EO-2 crew, as well as potential Buran (spacecraft) shuttle pilot Anatoli Levchenko, who had been launched to Mir a week earlier aboard Soyuz TM-4.

Soyuz programme

The Soyuz programme ( SOY-yooz, SAW-; Russian: Союз [sɐˈjus], meaning "Union") is a human spaceflight programme that was initiated by the Soviet Union in the early 1960s, originally part of a Moon landing project intended to put a Soviet cosmonaut on the Moon. It was the third Soviet human spaceflight programme after the Vostok and Voskhod programme.

The programme consists of the Soyuz spacecraft and the Soyuz rocket and is now the responsibility of the Russian Roscosmos. Since the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2011, all human spaceflights to and from the International Space Station have been carried out using Soyuz.

Technik Museum Speyer

The Technik Museum Speyer is a technology museum in Speyer (Rhineland-Palatinate), Germany.


USA-226 is the first flight of the second Boeing X-37B, the Orbital Test Vehicle 2 (X-37B OTV-2), an American unmanned robotic vertical-takeoff, horizontal-landing spaceplane. It was launched aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral on 5 March 2011, and landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base on 16 June 2012. It operated in low Earth orbit. Its mission designation is part of the USA series.

The spaceplane was operated by the United States Air Force, which has not revealed the specific identity of the payload for the first flight. The Air Force stated only that the spacecraft would "demonstrate various experiments and allow satellite sensors, subsystems, components, and associated technology to be transported into space and back."

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