An illicit visit to two abandoned Soviet space shuttles

An evening pause: Hat tip John Harman. This video has been around for awhile, but I hadn’t ever actually watched it until now. What it shows is very cool, but sad in so many ways. As a government project the whole Soviet space shuttle program was generally a dead end waste of resources (as was our own shuttle). Yet, it was possibly one of Soviet Russia’s greatest technological achievements — which they have allowed to rot away in these abandoned hangers, rather than opening them up for their citizens to see and admire and learn from.

Russia looks to develop reusable first stage

The competition heats up: Russia’s space agency Roscosmos has reactivated the design team for developing a reusable first stage with wings that would return to a runway like an airplane.

They have put in charge of the project the designer of Buran, their Soviet-era space shuttle, and are trying to reassemble his team for this work.

With Russia, proposals like this should only be taken seriously when they actually start test flights.Too often the Russian government,.like NASA here, announces big plans, but fails to figure out how to build anything at a cost anyone can afford.

Buran moved to new exhibition location

After sitting in Gorky Park since 1995, the prototype of Russia’s space shuttle, Buran, was moved this past weekend to Moscow’s official outdoor exhibition center.

Back in 2003, when I was in Moscow interviewing people for Leaving Earth, my apartment was within walking distance of Gorky Park. I went over there to take a look. You could get to within a few feet of the prototype, which was sitting with no display signs or security other than a simple fence. It looked quite dilapidated (I would post the photographs I took but this was the last time I used my film camera, and they are all slides.)

The article above has some nice details describing the history of Buran, and why it only flew once. Definitely worth reading.