Defunct Russian Shuttle

Well, who’d have thought? I for one was completely unaware that the Russians once had a close equivalent to the space shuttle, which may in fact have been superior in some respects. Of course, the difference between the two that really cut the mustard was the most important one – the US actually managed to continue funding the development and use of theirs. Looking at these pictures and specs, though, it’s interesting to contemplate what might have been in different circumstances.

2 thoughts on “Defunct Russian Shuttle”

  1. The really interesting part about Buran was that the Sovs slavisly copied the gross characteristics that made Shuttle shuch an iffy vehicle.

    Wings for the prime example. The wings were a design comprimise forced on NASA by the Air Force for cross range capability for an orbital flight. Absent the polar orbit there simply isn’t a reason to haul wings up to orbit.

    Location of Buran and it’s fuel tank for another. Excellent idea to locate your crew next to the fuel so in case of catastrophic failure the crew compartment is vaporized and not thrown clear, as it would be if the vehicle were mounted above the tank.

    I swear you’d think Shuttle was part of a vast conspiracy to bankrupt the Soviet Union. The diff being that we could afford such blunders, the Soviets not so much.

  2. You don’t remember that that Russians had a shuttle?

    I hope it’s because you’re too young to remember; because Buran was all over the news in the 1980s, IIRC, they took it to the Paris air show.

    At the time, it was widely diss’ed as a “me too” project – and it may have been – but it had significant design differences from the US Shuttle.

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