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OK-GLI ("Buran aerodynamic analogue")
Atmospheric Buran testbed currently on display in Technikmuseum Speyer
OV designation BST-02
Country Soviet Union
Status Owned by the Technikmuseum Speyer, Germany. Serving as walk-in exhibition.
First flight Taxi test 1
29 December 1984
Last flight Taxi test 9
29 December 1989
Number of missions 25 test flights
Time spent in space never flew in space

The OK-GLI (Buran Analog BST-02) was a test vehicle ("Buran aerodynamic analogue") in the Buran programme. It was constructed in 1984, and was used for 25 test flights between 1985 and 1988 before being retired. It is now an exhibition at the Technikmuseum Speyer in Germany.


The development of the Buran began in the late 1970s as a response to the U.S. Space Shuttle program. The construction of the orbiters began in 1980, and by 1984 the first full-scale Buran was rolled out. The first suborbital test flight of a scale-model took place as early as July 1983. As the project progressed, five additional scale-model flights were performed.

The OK-GLI (Buran Analog BST-02) test vehicle ("Buran aerodynamic analogue") was constructed in 1984. It was fitted with four AL-31 jet engines mounted at the rear (the fuel tank for the engines occupied a quarter of the cargo bay). This Buran could take off under its own power for flight tests, in contrast to the American Enterprise test vehicle, which was entirely unpowered and relied on an air launch.

The jets were used to take off from a normal landing strip, and once it reached a designated point, the engines were cut and OK-GLI glided back to land. This provided invaluable information about the handling characteristics of the Buran design, and significantly differed from the carrier plane/air drop method used by the USA and the Enterprise test craft.

Test flights[edit]

Nine taxi tests and twenty-five test flights of OK-GLI were performed,[1] after which the vehicle was "worn out". All tests and flights were carried out at Baikonur.

Date Description Maximum speed Maximum altitude Time Crew / Notes [2]
29 December 1984 Taxi test 1 45 km/h 5 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
2 August 1985 Taxi test 2 200 km/h 14 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
5 October 1985 Taxi test 3 270 km/h 12 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
15 October 1985 Taxi test 4 300 km/h Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
10 November 1985 Flight 1 480 km/h 1500 m 12 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
15 November 1985 Taxi test 5 170 km/h 12 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
3 January 1986 Flight 2 520 km/h 3000 m 36 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
26 April 1986 Taxi test 6 14 minutes Anatoli Levchenko, Alexandr Shchukin
27 May 1986 Flight 3 540 km/h 4000 m 23 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
11 June 1986 Flight 4 530 km/h 4000 m 22 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
20 June 1986 Flight 5 600 km/h 4500 m 25 minutes Anatoli Levchenko, Alexandr Shchukin
28 June 1986 Flight 6 650 km/h 5000 m 23 minutes Anatoli Levchenko, Alexandr Shchukin
10 December 1986 Flight 7 700 km/h 4000 m 24 minutes First automatic landing Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
23 December 1986 Flight 8 750 km/h 6000 m 17 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
29 December 1986 Flight 9 17 minutes Anatoli Levchenko, Alexandr Shchukin
16 February 1987 Flight 10 28 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
25 February 1987 Flight 11 19 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
29 March 1987 Taxi test 7 2 minutes Anatoli Levchenko, Alexandr Shchukin
30 March 1987 Taxi test 8 25 minutes Anatoli Levchenko, Alexandr Shchukin
21 May 1987 Flight 12 20 minutes Anatoli Levchenko, Alexandr Shchukin
25 June 1987 Flight 13 19 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
5 October 1987 Flight 14 21 minutes Automatic landing Shchukin, Igor Volk
15 October 1987 Flight 15 19 minutes Ivan Bachurin, Alexei Borodai
16 January 1988 Flight 16 Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
24 January 1988 Flight 17 Ivan Bachurin, Alexei Borodai
23 February 1988 Flight 18 22 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
4 March 1988 Flight 19 32 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
12 March 1988 Flight 20 Ivan Bachurin, Alexei Borodai
23 March 1988 Flight 21 Ivan Bachurin, Alexei Borodai
28 March 1988 Flight 22 Ivan Bachurin, Alexei Borodai
2 April 1988 Flight 23 20 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
8 April 1988 Flight 24 Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
15 April 1988 Flight 25 19 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
29 December 1989 Taxi test 9 Rimantas Stankevičius, Viktor Zabolotski


Zhukovsky Air Base[edit]

After the program was cancelled, OK-GLI was stored at Gromov Flight Research Institute, near Moscow, where it was displayed during the annual MAKS (air show).

Sydney, Australia[edit]

In 2000, Analog Buran was sold to an Australian company called the Buran Space Corporation (BSC), owned by Australian astronaut Paul Scully-Power. It was disassembled and transported by ship to Sydney, Australia via Gothenburg, Sweden [3] — arriving on 9 February 2000 and appeared as a static tourist attraction under a large temporary structure in Darling Harbour for a few years.[4] [5]

Upon reassembly, OK-GLI was put on display in a temporary enclosure for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Visitors could walk around and inside the vehicle (a walkway was built along the cargo bay), and plans were in place for a tour of various cities in Australia and Asia. The owners, however, went into bankruptcy after the Olympics, and the vehicle was moved into the open air and stored for a year, in a fenced-in parking lot and protected by nothing more than a large tarp, where it suffered deterioration and repeated vandalism.[6]

The OK-GLI test vehicle was then offered for sale, including by a radio auction on Los Angeles' News 980 KFWB-AM with a starting price of $6 million,[7] however it did not receive any genuine bids.[8]


In September 2004 a German team of journalists found the OK-GLI test vehicle in Bahrain.[9] It was then bought by the Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum, to be transported to Germany in 2005.[10] Due to legal issues, it remained in Bahrain for five years, pending settlement of an international court settlement over fees.[11]

Technikmuseum Speyer[edit]

On 4 March 2008 the OK-GLI started her journey by sea to the Technikmuseum Speyer where it has been refurbished and serves as walk-in exhibit.[12]

The journey got off to an inauspicious start when, during the transfer from the storage barge to the ship, there was a failure of the aft spreader (part of the lifting mechanism) and the tail of the vehicle dropped from just above deck height to the bottom of the hold. Fortunately, no-one was hurt and both the ship and vehicle seemed to suffer only minor damage.


  1. ^ "Buran Energia Timeline History". Krzys Kotwicki. Retrieved 2006-08-04. 
  2. ^ "Buran Analogue Chronology". astronautix.com. Retrieved 2006-08-05. 
  3. ^ "Transporting the Russian Space shuttle Buran". ProCargo. Archived from the original on 2006-02-10. Retrieved 2006-07-02. 
  4. ^ "Buran Analogue/002 in Sydney". Retrieved 2006-07-02. 
  5. ^ "Russian shuttle lands down under". collectSpace. 2000-02-10. Retrieved 2006-07-02. 
  6. ^ "Analog Buran Test Vehicle". Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  7. ^ Banke, Jim (2002-05-09). "Russian Shuttle Buran, Slightly Used, Goes Up for Auction Today". Space.com. Retrieved 2006-07-03. 
  8. ^ Banke, Jim (2002-05-23). "Auction Fails to Sell Buran, Russian Shuttle Remains Available". Space.com. Retrieved 2006-07-03. 
  9. ^ "Kurioser Fund: Sowjet-Shuttle am Persischen Golf aufgetaucht (trans. "Strange find: Soviet shuttle found at Persian Gulf")". 22 September 2004. Retrieved 2006-08-05. 
  10. ^ "Sinsheimer Museum kauft den Sowjet-Shuttle (trans. "Sinsheimer museum buys a Soviet shuttle")". 23 September 2004. Retrieved 2006-08-05. 
  11. ^ "Russian Space Shuttle Navigates Rhine River". Der Spiegel. April 7, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Heinz Elser, Margrit Elser-Haft, Vladim Lukashevich: Buran - History and Transportation of the Russian Space shuttle OK-GLI to the Technik Museum Speyer, two Languages: German and Englisch, 2008, ISBN 3-9809437-7-1

External links[edit]