Military Review

Flight of the Buran - as it were


15 November 1988 of the year took place the launch of the space shuttle "Buran". After the launch of the universal rocket-space transport system “Energy” with “Buran”, he went into orbit, made two orbits around the Earth and made an automatic landing at the Baikonur cosmodrome. This flight was an outstanding breakthrough in Soviet science and opened a new stage in the development of the Soviet space research program.

First of all, it should be noted that the sources of the Soviet national space science are two outstanding people - M. Keldysh (President of the USSR Academy of Sciences) and S. Korolev (Chief Designer). It was thanks to their efforts and authority that the Soviet Union took a leading position in the global cosmonautics 60-70-s. It was in those years that the Academy of Sciences adopted a program for the study of space. The program envisaged conducting scientific works in two directions: conducting studies of Venus, the Moon and Mars with the help of spacecraft, as well as the development of space around the Earth with the help of satellite satellites and spacecraft. After the death of Keldysh and Korolev, significant changes were made to the program, and the activities of the Academy itself were aimed at serving the Soviet military-industrial complex. As a result, it turned out that no one bore any responsibility for the failure or success of this or that space project. It was in such conditions that the creation of the Buran spacecraft began.

The fact that in the Soviet Union it is necessary to create a domestic reusable space system that would serve as a counterweight in the policy of deterring potential adversaries (Americans) was told by analytical studies conducted by the Institute of Applied Mathematics of the USSR Academy of Sciences and NPO Energia (1971-1975). Their result was the assertion that if the Americans launch the reusable Space Shuttle system, they will receive an advantage and the possibility of launching nuclear missile strikes. And although the American system did not pose an immediate threat at that time, it could have threatened the country's security in the future.

Work on the creation of the program "Energy-Buran" was launched in 1976 year. About 2,5 of millions of people who represented 86 ministries and departments, as well as about 1300 enterprises throughout the Soviet Union, took part in this process. For the development of the new spacecraft, the NPO Molniya was specially created, headed by GE.Lozino-Lozinsky, who already in 60's worked on the reusable space rocket system Spiral.

It should also be noted that, despite the fact that for the first time ideas for creating spacecraft-airplanes were voiced by Russians, namely Friedrich Zander, back in 1921, domestic designers didn’t hurry, because it seemed to them extremely troublesome . True, work was carried out on the design of the Planning Spacecraft, but due to technical problems that have arisen, all work was stopped.

But work on the creation of winged spacecraft began to be carried out only in response to the beginning of such work by the Americans.

So, when in the USA, work began on the creation of the Dyna-Soar rocket plane in the USA, the USSR launched the P-60, P-1, Tu-2 and Tu-130 rocket-planes. But the greatest success of the Soviet designers was the project "Spiral", which was to become the forerunner of "Buran".
From the very beginning, the program for creating a new spacecraft was torn by conflicting requirements: on the one hand, the designers were required to copy the American Shuttle in order to reduce possible technical risks, reduce the time and cost of development, on the other hand, the need to adhere to the program put forward by .Glushko about the creation of unified missiles intended for the landing of the expedition on the surface of the moon.

During the formation of the appearance of "Buran" were proposed two options. The first option was similar to the American "Shuttle" and was a scheme of a plane with a horizontal landing and the placement of engines in the tail. The second option was a wingless scheme with a vertical landing, the advantage of which was that it was possible to shorten the design time by using data from the Soyuz spacecraft.

As a result, after the tests, the scheme with a horizontal fit was taken as the basis, since it most fully met the advanced requirements. The payload was located on the side, and the second stage cruising engines were located in the central unit. The choice of this location was caused by the lack of confidence that in a short time it will be possible to create a reusable hydrogen engine, as well as the need to maintain a full-fledged launch vehicle that could independently put into orbit not only the ship, but also large volumes of payloads. If you look a little ahead, we note that this decision was fully justified: Energia managed to ensure that large devices were placed into orbit (it was 5 times more powerful than the Proton launch vehicle and 3 times - the Space Shuttle).

The first and only singer of "Buran", as we said above, was held in 1988 year. The flight was carried out in unmanned mode, that is, the crew was not on it. It should be noted that, despite the resemblance with the American Shuttle, the Soviet model had several advantages. First of all, these ships were distinguished by the fact that the native could take into space, besides the ship itself, also additional loads, and also had a greater maneuverability during landing. "Shuttles" were designed in such a way that they landed with the engines off, so they could not try again if necessary. “Buran” was equipped with turbojet engines, which provided such an opportunity in case of bad weather conditions or any unforeseen situations. In addition, the “Buran” was equipped with a system of emergency crew rescue. At a small height, the cabin with the pilots could be catapulted, and at high altitudes there was the possibility of disconnecting the module from the launch vehicle and making an emergency landing. Another significant difference was the automatic flight mode, which was not on American ships.

It is necessary to note the fact that Soviet designers did not harbor any illusions about the efficiency of the project - according to calculations, the launch of one “Buran” managed as the launch of hundreds of disposable missiles. However, initially the Soviet ship was developed as a military space system. After the end of the Cold War, this aspect has ceased to be relevant, which cannot be said about spending. Therefore, his fate was decided.

In general, the program to create a multi-purpose spacecraft "Buran" provided for the creation of five ships. Of these, only three were constructed (the construction of the rest was only laid, but after the program was closed, all the groundwork for them was destroyed). The first of them was in space, the second - became an attraction in the Moscow Gorky Park, and the third is in the Museum of Technology in German Sinsheim.

But first, full-size technological mockups (total 9) were created, which were intended for strength testing and crew training.

It should be noted that the enterprises from all over the Soviet Union took part in the creation of the Buran. Thus, at the Kharkov Energopribor, an autonomous control complex Energia was created, which brought the ship into space. At Antonov ASTC, the design and manufacture of parts for the ship was carried out and An-225 “Mriya” was created, which was used to deliver the “Buran”.

To test the Buran spacecraft, 27 candidates were prepared, which were divided into military and civilian test pilots. This separation was due to the fact that this ship was planned to be used not only for defense purposes, but also for the needs of the national economy. Colonel Ivan Bachurin and Igor Volk, an experienced civilian pilot, were appointed as leaders of the group (this was the reason that his group was called the "wolf pack").

Despite the fact that the Buran's flight was performed in automatic mode, still seven testers managed to go into orbit, however, on other ships: I.Volk, A.Levchenko, V.Afanasyev, A.Artsebarsky, G.Manakov, L. Kadenyuk, V. Tokarev. Unfortunately, many of them are no longer among us.

More testers lost a civilian detachment - testers, continuing preparations for the Buran program, while experiencing other planes, flew and died one after another. The first died O. Kononenko. A.Levchenko left him. A little later, A.Shchukin, R.Stankyavichus, Y.Prikhodko, Y.Sheffer also passed away.

Commander I. Volk himself, having lost so many people close to him, left his flight service in 2002. A few months later, the trouble happened to the Buran ship itself: it was damaged by fragments of the roof of one of the assembly and test buildings at the Baikonur cosmodrome, where the ship was in storage.

In some media you can find information that in fact there were two flights of “Buran”, but one was unsuccessful, therefore the information about it is classified. So, in particular, it is said that in the 1992 year from the Baikonur cosmodrome another launch vehicle similar to the “Buran” - “Baikal” was launched, but the engine failed in the first seconds of the flight. Automatics worked, the ship began to come back.

In fact, everything is explained very simply. In 1992, all work on the "Buran" was discontinued. As for the name, the ship originally bore the name “Baikal”, but the top Soviet leadership did not like it, which recommended changing it to a more sonorous one — the Buran. At least, G. Ponomarev, the commander of the engineering and testing department of the Baikonur cosmodrome, which was directly involved in the program, said so.

To date, disputes about whether “Buran” was needed at all, and why it was necessary to spend such a huge amount of funds for a project that is not even used now, have not subsided. But be that as it may, for that time it was a real breakthrough in space science, and even today it has not been possible to surpass it.
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  1. vadimus
    vadimus April 24 2012 08: 50
    Oh, what a flight of thought was !!!
    1. tronin.maxim
      tronin.maxim April 24 2012 09: 27
      That's interesting, the snowstorm not only that he sat down in automatic mode, he himself assessed the situation before landing, did everything himself. Simply put, he had artificial intelligence, and that was then. The Americans still have not achieved this!
    2. Jackyun
      Jackyun April 24 2012 11: 01
      And the flight has not died out. The colossal funds spent on Buran were not in vain after the program was closed. Developments in the field of control automation, target designation and guidance (namely, these parameters allowed Buran to complete automatic flight and landing) were used later in ICBMs starting from Topol. The Yankees scratch their heads - some missile defense is needed if Russian missiles pass it like a hot butter knife. And the first real test of the pen was just on Buran
      1. plohoi
        plohoi April 24 2012 11: 10
        why these unfounded cries "knife through butter" ??? On the first channel reported ??? Or in reality it was ??? Are there blockheads sitting in the KB ???
        1. 755962
          755962 April 25 2012 01: 30
          The largest, most expensive and longest-running project of the national space program was discontinued after a triumphant single flight. The Buran creation program surpasses all previous USSR space programs in terms of the amount of material, technical and financial resources, human energy and intelligence, not to mention today's Russia. Just right to put in the Guinness Book.
  2. Tiberium
    Tiberium April 24 2012 10: 57
    How much they worked on it, how much money they invested and everything was empty.
    1. Eric
      Eric April 25 2012 02: 59
      Not empty, a flake with a gimlet is used. High-temperature ceramics, in other words, it is very expensive and has unique property.
  3. saturn.mmm
    saturn.mmm April 24 2012 12: 00
    Yes, they could create grandiose projects in the USSR. If we compare those events with the present time, then it begins to seem that it was, that lost country of Hyperborea. "Star in shock".
  4. vostok
    vostok April 24 2012 12: 22
    It was a breakthrough in science, but to be honest, a huge amount of money wasted.
  5. Dust
    Dust April 24 2012 12: 41
    And then new times came - the days of effective managers and national cadres, which even the corps could not stand, who buried under the rubble one of the peaks of human thought at that time and the fruit of the labor of millions of citizens of a great country ......
  6. Antonio58
    Antonio58 April 24 2012 13: 08
    After watching such films, the feeling that they are talking about another country does not leave. Can our industry and science currently create at least part of such a project, even if billions are poured in? Everything then was different: other values, other people, a different attitude both to one's own and to the common cause. Although there were also disadvantages, such as a shortage of material wealth, a low standard of living (although not better now) and tight social control, this is another topic.
    1. ozs
      ozs April 24 2012 21: 17
      Other trends of innovation, modernization, etc. are now in fashion. Why create something, if you can just promise, and the people will believe, and so on to the logical end.
  7. Chicot 1
    Chicot 1 April 24 2012 13: 32
    Damn it! .. And I remember this day ... How we guys were waiting for him! Our "Shuttle" - nifigo for myself !!! ... We were worried that at first the flight was postponed ... And then it started! .. How much pride there was. For my country. For designers, scientists ...
    And then everything collapsed as if overnight. And it was damn painful and offensive ... And now it is sad that our children do not know such moments when our Russian Shuttle jumped into the world with a thousand-strong Energia engines, and then sat down on the machine just like a thread on the landing strip ... But we remember ... smile
  8. Isk1984
    Isk1984 April 24 2012 13: 57
    How much money was spent? You know, my dear, every ruble invested then paid off almost immediately, if the country collapsed would have reaped the benefits, these developments and increased only, regarding the specific amounts, see how much money is spent in the budget on the state apparatus today, or at least a small line for the purchase of vehicles for ministries, Amounts over the past 10 years are awful, I think the snowstorm has been blocked for a long time, but will these expenses be paid off? But the same USSR was trying to revive the spirit of the creators of the winners, there were no unsolvable tasks, it’s not for you today to run a prayer in defense of what’s unknown and to whom .... they shredded people, but 20 years have passed ...
  9. cubinecz
    cubinecz April 24 2012 15: 45
    For the landing of this friend, the Yubileiny airfield with the longest takeoff in the entire USSR was specially built. In 89-91. I served an urgent service there and sat on the RSP between takeoff and taxiing. How much time has passed, and everything is remembered with pride.
  10. Tirpitz
    Tirpitz April 24 2012 16: 04
    Not that right now. Need vstraska, rejuvenation of the body (state). The roots of snowstorm and all the progress of the USSR were laid back in 38-39gg 20st. Huge cleaning of the state apparatus. They gave you the task, they didn’t manage - the execution, your deputy came to your place (the same fat from idleness), didn’t manage - the execution ..... So it was everywhere from the collective farm, which did not fulfill the plan to huge factories. And try at least 10kop. to steal. In such harsh conditions, an atomic bomb was created and a lot of things after the war, when the country was rebuilt. All the designers of snowstorms, missiles, nuclear submarines, engineers, as a rule, were born in 20-40, and as children they learned from their fathers and grandfathers to carry out the task, learned responsibility. All this gave a result in 60-80gg. and now what? They sawed the loot and there are no extreme ones, and no one is responsible for anything. request
    Maybe he didn’t write that, but they should understand my soap.
  11. Antipin
    Antipin April 24 2012 16: 15
    A lot of money and effort has been spent, but the result is zero
  12. Alex
    Alex April 24 2012 16: 28
    Surname of the squad leader I.P. Volk and not Vovk.
    There were no turbojet engines on Buran; he, like the Shuttle, did not have the opportunity to go on the second round. WFD stood on the analog, which was intended for testing in the atmospheric section of the descent.
  13. Nechai
    Nechai April 24 2012 16: 51
    Quote: Alex
    did not have the opportunity to go to the second round

    But Buran did a similar maneuver on his own. I went against the wind, then "I realized that there were stripes across. And went in as expected. The deviation was scanty, no more than 1,5 m from the axis of the strip.
    "originally the ship was named exactly" Baikal "" - there is again a version that the reason for the renaming was that perhaps soot would cover the first letters of the name. So we were reinsured.
  14. Kostjan
    Kostjan April 24 2012 18: 40
    Great achievement of a great country
  15. anton107798
    anton107798 April 24 2012 19: 06
    hmm ... I worked in a company, and the office was located in a former research institute ... and so, I walked into the office past the cabinets in the corridor. not when I did not look at what was in them ... but it turned out that the drawings of the "Buran" wiring, power supply. In general, the entire electrician of the ship! and all this is probably still worth it, just like that, just in the corridor of the former research institute, it's not even closed ... take it wherever you want ... crying
  16. vylvyn
    vylvyn April 25 2012 02: 12
    Yes, in those years it was not just a project, it turned into a legend. We did what the Americans did not even dream of. We really showed who is the first in space. Particular attention in Buran was given to absolutely everything. So, heat-resistant ceramic tiles were specially designed for cladding - 10000 pieces and each of different sizes and thicknesses (there weren’t two identical), and the soldiers rubbed the joints on the landing strip with sandpaper almost to shine (they were afraid as if landing due to roughness and roughness of the joints of the wheels of the Buran were not damaged and did not catch fire).
  17. Alone
    Alone April 25 2012 03: 00
    It is known that the chief designer and mover of this project was an ardent communist. And after the "bnl" came to power, this project, in spite of its uniqueness and promise, immediately lost funding and was curtailed.
  18. Sergeev
    Sergeev April 25 2012 06: 12
    Yes, there was a time .......