Abandoned Soviet Space Shuttles

The abandoned hangar is located at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan

The only orbital launch of Buran occurred at 3:00 UTC on 15 November 1988 from Baikonur Cosmodrome Site 110/37. It was lifted into orbit unmanned by the specially designed Energia rocket. Unlike the NASA Shuttle, which was propelled by a combination of solid boosters and the Shuttle’s own liquid-fuel engines fueled from a large fuel tank, the Energia-Buran system used only thrust from the rocket’s four RD-170 liquid oxygen/kerosene engines developed by Valentin Glushko and another four RD-0120 liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen engines.[citation needed] From the very beginning Buran was intended to be used in both fully automatic and manual mode.
Although the program accumulated a several-years delay, Buran was the only space shuttle for over 20 years to perform an unmanned flight, including landing, in fully automatic mode until 22 April 2010, when the US Air Force launched its Boeing X-37 spaceplane. The Buran 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 revolutions around the Earth, ODU (engine control system) engines fired automatically to begin the descent into the atmosphere. Exactly 206 minutes into the mission, the Buran orbiter landed, having lost only five of its 38,000 thermal tiles over the course of the flight. The automated landing took place on a runway at Baikonur Cosmodrome where, despite a lateral wind speed of 61.2 kilometres per hour (38.0 mph), it landed only 3 metres (9.8 ft) laterally and 10 metres (33 ft) longitudinally from the target mark.
The unmanned flight was the first time that a spacecraft of this size and complexity had been launched, completed maneuvers in orbit, re-entered the atmosphere, and landed under automatic guidance.
Projected flights
In 1989, it was projected that Buran would have an unmanned second flight in 1993, with a duration of 15-20 days. Because the project was cancelled after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, this never took place. Several scientists looked into trying to revive the Buran program, especially after the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.  More recently, the director of Moscow’s Central Machine Building Institute has said the Buran project will be reviewed in the hopes of restarting a similar manned spacecraft design, with rocket test launches as soon as 2015. Russia also continues work on the PPTS but has abandoned the Kliper program, due to differences in vision with its European partners.

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