Image by Anton Alexandrov

Buran – Soviet space shuttle

As a space engineer, I was always excited by the famous Energiya-Buran Soviet space program.

It was started back in 1974 as a counterpart to the US Space Shuttle, and the whole country effort was put into building this spaceship and its launch vehicle for 12 years. By some means, it was even more advanced than Space Shuttle, able to put heavier payloads into orbit, cheaper, and (at the time) much smarter, being able to perform totally automatic flight and landing.

Unfortunately, the enormous amount of workforce and money spent into this project ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and, when the project was 100% done, the Buran made its first and only orbital (unmanned) spaceflight in 1988, with the whole program shutting down shortly after.

Nevertheless, this beautiful spaceship and its giant “Energiya” launch vehicle are still marvels of space engineering, with lots of unsolvable problems solved, and are a monument to the Space Race.

The Buran on display at the VDNKH was renovated in 2014. It’s almost the real spacecraft—this one was used for structural testing. If you want to get inside the cabin, there are guided tours available (500RUR, but book in advance, as they have only one English-speaking guide). The cargo bay┬ánow hosts interactive displays, and the guide would tell you all the cool details about this program. The cockpit looks as it would have looked for the piloted program, and you’ll be able to manually land a Buran from orbit to spaceport on the spaceship simulator.

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Details about this spot

Categories

Address

Prospekt Mira, 119, Moscow

Telephone number

+74955443496

Opening Times

Tue - Sun 11:00 - 20:00

Price

Free

Website

Last Changed Date: 2016-05-19 11:45:13 +0200 (Thu, 19 May 2016)