Buran (spacecraft)

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Buran
Буран
Buran on An-225 (Le Bourget 1989) (cropped).JPEG
Orbiter 1K1 at the 1989 Paris Air Show
Country
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]

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 entire Soviet/Russian space-plane project and its orbiters, which were known as "Buran-class space-planes".

OK-1K1 completed one uncrewed spaceflight in 1988, and was destroyed in 2002 when the hangar it was stored in collapsed.[3] The Buran-class orbiters used the expendable Energia rocket, a class of super heavy-lift launch vehicle.

Construction[edit]

The construction of the Buran space-planes 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 (meaning little bird)) started in 1988. The Buran program ended in 1993.[4]

Operational history[edit]

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

Orbital flight[edit]

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 uncrewed 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 spaceplane to perform an uncrewed 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[edit]

In 1989, it was projected that OK-1K1 would have an uncrewed 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]

Specifications[edit]

Size comparison[12] of the Soyuz launch vehicle (left), the US Space Shuttle (center), and the Buran-Energia (right) vehicles

The mass of the Buran vehicle is quoted as 62 tons,[12] with a maximum payload of 30 tons, for a total lift-off weight of 105 tons.[3][4]

Mass breakdown
  • Mass of Total Structure / Landing Systems: 42,000 kg (93,000 lb)
  • Mass of Functional Systems and Propulsion: 33,000 kg (73,000 lb)
  • Maximum Payload: 30,000 kg (66,000 lb)
  • Maximum liftoff weight: 105,000 kg (231,000 lb)
Dimensions
  • Length: 36.37 m (119.3 ft)
  • Wingspan: 23.92 m (78.5 ft)
  • Height on Gear: 16.35 m (53.6 ft)
  • Payload bay length: 18.55 m (60.9 ft)
  • Payload bay diameter: 4.65 m (15.3 ft)
  • Wing glove sweep: 78 degrees
  • Wing sweep: 45 degrees
Propulsion
  • Total orbital maneuvering engine thrust: 17,600 kgf (173,000 N; 39,000 lbf)
  • Orbital Maneuvering Engine Specific Impulse: 362 seconds (3.55 km/s)
  • Total Maneuvering Impulse: 5 kgf-sec (11 lbf-sec)
  • Total Reaction Control System Thrust: 14,866 kgf (145,790 N; 32,770 lbf)
  • Average RCS Specific Impulse: 275–295 seconds (2.70–2.89 km/s)
  • Normal Maximum Propellant Load: 14,500 kg (32,000 lb)

Unlike the US space shuttle, which was propelled by a combination of solid boosters and the shuttle orbiter's own liquid-fuel engines fueled from a large fuel tank, the Soviet/Russian shuttle system used 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.[12]

Fate[edit]

In June 1989, Buran, carried on the back of the Antonov An-225, took part in the 1989 Paris Air Show.

Together with the Energia carrier, the Buran vehicle was put in a hangar at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.

On 12 May 2002,[3] during a severe storm at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, 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.[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  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 e Zak, Anatoly (25 December 2018). "Buran reusable orbiter". Russian Space Web. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Wade, Mark. "Buran". Encyclopedia Astronautics. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  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. ^ a b c Buran Space Shuttle vs STS. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  13. ^ Whitehouse, David (13 May 2002). "Russia's space dreams abandoned". BBC News. Retrieved 14 November 2007.

Further reading[edit]

  • Hendrickx, Bart; Vis, Bert (2007). Energiya-Buran: The Soviet Space Shuttle. Springer-Praxis. p. 526. Bibcode:2007ebss.book.....H. 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[edit]