1988: That the Soviets also Made a Space Shuttle

1988: That the Soviets also Made a Space Shuttle
Photo Credit To http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Buran_on_An-225_(Le_Bourget_1989)_(cropped).JPEG

Story Highlights

  • historical event:
  • The “Buran” was the answer to Americans making the Space Shuttle, and by design it very much resembled its U.S. rival. The program was launched in 1974 and was the most expensive Soviet space project ever.

On this day the Soviet space shuttle Buran was launched into Space. The Buran spacecraft was the answer to Americans making the Space Shuttle, and by design it very much resembled its U.S. rival. The program was launched in 1974 and was the most expensive Soviet space project ever.

The interesting thing about this shuttle was that it was fully automated, i.e. it did not require any crew. Indeed, the launch, which took place on this day, was also done without a crew. The shuttle was launched into orbit by the Energia rocket, the most powerful liquid fueled rocket in history. In orbit, Buran made two circles around the Earth and then engaged its thrusters for braking.

It passed through the atmosphere, losing only five of the 38,000 thermal tiles which protected it. Fully automated, it landed on the cosmodrome runway and despite the strong wind stopped just three meters from the spot marked as a goal. It was the first and the last flight of the shuttle, because the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev had a negative opinion about the project. Soon, the breakup of the USSR transpired, and the project was abandoned.

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