Buran (spacecraft)

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 spaceplane project and its orbiters, which were known as "Buran-class spaceplanes".

Buran
Буран
Buran 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]

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

The construction of the Buran spaceplanes 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 programme ended in 1993.[4]

Operational history

Orbital flight

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

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

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

Mass breakdown[3]
  • Total mass of structure and 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[3][4]
  • 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[4]
  • 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 RCS 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 orbiter's own liquid-propellant engines fueled from a large tank, the Soviet/Russian shuttle system used thrust from each booster's four RD-170 liquid oxygen/kerosene engines, developed by Valentin Glushko, and another four RD-0120 liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen engines attached to the central block.[12]

Fate

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 rocket, Buran 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.[13]

See also

References

  1. "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. Zak, Anatoly (25 December 2018). "Buran reusable orbiter". Russian Space Web. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  4. 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-Energia: 1st Flight". Буран. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  8. Chertok, Boris (2005). Siddiqi, Asif A. (ed.). Raketi i lyudi [Rockets and People] (PDF). History Series. NASA. p. 179.
  9. "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. "The orbiters and the launch vehicle". Buran.su. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  13. Whitehouse, David (13 May 2002). "Russia's space dreams abandoned". BBC News. Retrieved 14 November 2007.

Further reading

  • 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.
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