205 minutes of the flight of the ship "Buran" have become a deafening sensation. And most importantly - landing. For the first time in the world, the Soviet shuttle landed automatically. The American shuttles did not learn this: they sat down only in manual mode.
Why triumphal start was the only one? What has the country lost? And is there any hope that the Russian shuttle will fly to the stars? About this on the eve of the 25 anniversary of the flight "Buran" correspondent "RG" talks with one of its founders, in the past - the head of the department of NPO "Energy", and now - a professor of MAI, doctor of technical sciences Valery Burdakov.
Valery Pavlovich, they say that the Buran spacecraft has become the most complex machine ever created by mankind.
Valery Burdakov: Certainly. Before him, the leader was the American Space Shuttle.
Is it true that the Buran could fly up to a satellite in space, capture it with a manipulator and send it to its womb?
Valery Burdakov: Yes, just like the American Space Shuttle. But the capabilities of Buran were much wider: both by the mass of cargo delivered to Earth (20-30 tons instead of 14,5), and by the ranges of their alignments. We could drop the Mir station from orbit and turn it into a museum piece!
The Americans were scared?
Valery Burdakov: Vakhtang Vachnadze, who once headed NPO Energia, said: under the SDI program, the United States wanted to send 460 military vehicles into space, in the first stage, around 30. Having learned about the successful flight of the Buran, they abandoned this idea.
"Buran" was our answer to the Americans. Why were they convinced that we could not create anything like a shuttle?
Valery Burdakov: Yes, the Americans seriously made such statements. The fact is that in the middle of 1970's, our gap with the United States was estimated at 15 years. We did not have enough experience in working with large masses of liquid hydrogen, there were no reusable liquid rocket engines, or winged spacecraft. Not to mention the lack of such an analogue as the X-15 in the United States, as well as Boeing-747 class aircraft.
Nevertheless, the "Buran" was literally crammed with, as they say today, innovations?
The flight of the ship "Buran" has become a worldwide sensation 1988 of the year. Photo: Igor Kurashov / RG.
Valery Burdakov: Absolutely. Unmanned landing, the absence of toxic fuel, horizontal flight tests, air transport tanks rocket on the back of a specially designed aircraft ... Everything was super.
Many people remember an amazing photo: the spacecraft was “saddled” by the Mriya plane. Winged giant was born just under the "Buran"?
Valery Burdakov: And not only "Mriya". After all, the huge 8-meter tanks with a diameter of Energia missiles had to be delivered to Baikonur. How? We considered several options, and even this: dig a canal from the Volga to Baikonur! But they all pulled 10 billion rubles, or 17 billion dollars. What to do? There is no such money. There is no time for such construction - more than 10 years.
Our department prepared a report: transportation should be by air, i.e. by airplanes. What started here! .. I was accused of fantasy. But the plane Myasishchev 3M-T (later named after him VM-T), and the plane "Ruslan", and the plane "Mriya", on which we together with a representative of the Air Force were technical tasks, flew.
And why even among the designers turned out so many opponents of the "Buran"? Feoktistov said directly: reusability is another bluff, and academician Mishin even called “Buran” just as “Buryan”.
Valery Burdakov: They were wrongly offended by removing them from reusable subjects.
Who was the first to think about the project of the orbital ship of the aircraft scheme and the aircraft capabilities of landing on the runway?
Valery Burdakov: Korolev! This is what I heard from Sergey Pavlovich himself. In 1929, he is 23, and he is already a famous glider pilot. Korolev was carrying the idea: to lift the glider on 6 km, and then, with a sealed cabin, into the stratosphere. He decided to go to Kaluga to Tsiolkovsky in order to sign a letter on the expediency of such a high-altitude flight.
Valery Burdakov: No. He criticized the idea. He said that without a liquid-propellant rocket engine, a glider at a high altitude would be out of control and, speeding up when it fell, would break. He presented the book “Space Rocket Trains” and advised to think about the use of LRE for flights not in the stratosphere, but even higher, in the “ether space”.
I wonder how Korolev reacted?
Valery Burdakov: He did not hide his disappointment. And even refused to autograph! Although I read a little book. A friend of Korolev, aircraft designer Oleg Antonov told me how at the glider rally in Koktebel after 1929, many were whispering: did Serega not shake their minds? It is said that it flies on a tailless glider and says that it is best suited for installing a rocket engine on it. Knocked down the pilot Anokhin specifically to break the glider in the air during the "flutter test" ...
Korolev himself designed some kind of heavy-duty glider?
Valery Burdakov: Yes, "Red Star". Pilot Stepanchenko for the first time in the world on this glider made several "dead loops". And the glider is not broken! Curious fact. When the first five astronauts entered the Zhukovsky Academy, they decided to offer a diploma theme on the Vostok ship. But Korolev categorically objected: "Only the orbital ship of the aircraft scheme! This is our future! Let on the example of a small space ship with wings understand what is what."
And what kind of incident happened then with German Titov?
Valery Burdakov: He naively thought that he really understood everything, and asked the Queen to accept him. "We," he says, "are flying on bad ships. Large overloads, while descending, are shaking like a cobblestone pavement. We need a ship for an airplane circuit, and we have already designed it!" Korolev smiled: "Have you already received an engineering degree?" "Not yet," answered Herman. "When you get it, then come, let's talk on an equal footing."
When did you start practicing Buran?
Valery Burdakov: Back in 1962, with the support of Sergei Pavlovich, I received my first copyright certificate for a reusable space carrier. When the hype around the American shuttle came up, the question of whether or not we should do the same with us was not yet resolved. However, the so-called "service N 16" in NPO "Energy" under the leadership of Igor Sadovsky in 1974 year was formed. There were two design departments in it - mine on aircraft matters and Efrem Dubinsky - on the carrier.
Assembling the layout of the ship "Buran" for the MAKS-2011 air show in Zhukovsky. Photo: RIA News www.ria.ru
We were engaged in translation, scientific analysis, editing and publishing of the "primers" on the shuttle. And they themselves, quietly, developed their own version of the ship and carrier for it.
But after all, Glushko, who after the removal of Mishin, headed "Energy", also did not support reusable topics?
Valery Burdakov: He kept saying that he would not engage in the shuttle. Therefore, when Glushko was once summoned to the Central Committee by Ustinov, he did not go. Sent me. There was a flurry of questions: why do we need a reusable space system, what could it be, etc. After this visit, I signed with Glushko Technical Information - the main provisions on the topic of "Buran". Ustinov in the shortest possible time prepared a decision that was approved by Brezhnev. But dozens of meetings were needed with swearing and accusations of incompetence, until they had developed a common opinion.
And what was your main position aviation subcontractor - chief designer of NPO Molniya Gleb Evgenievich Lozino-Lozinsky?
Valery Burdakov: Unlike Aviation Minister Dementieva, Lozino-Lozinsky was always on our side, even though at first he offered his options. Wise was a man. Here, for example, as he put an end to talk about the impossibility of an unmanned landing. He told the managers that he wouldn’t turn to them anymore, but would ask him to make an automatic landing system ... pioneers from the Tushino airfield, as he repeatedly observed the accuracy with which their radio-controlled models land. And the incident was settled to the displeasure of his superiors.
The astronauts were also unhappy. We thought that the position of Dementiev would take the upper hand. They wrote a letter to the Central Committee: they do not need an automatic landing, they want to control the Buran themselves.
They say that their name “Buran” received before the start?
Valery Burdakov: Yes. Glushko proposed to call the ship "Energy", Lozino-Lozinsky - "Lightning". There is a consensus - "Baikal". A "Buran" proposed by General Kerimov. The inscription was barely scraped off before the start and put a new one.
The accuracy of the landing "Buran" struck down all outright ...
Valery Burdakov: When the ship had already appeared from behind the clouds, one of the chiefs, as if in delirium, repeated: “Right now it will crash, right now it will crash!”. True, he used another word. All gasped when the Buran began to unfold across the runway. And in fact, this maneuver was incorporated into the program. But that chief of this nuance, apparently, did not know or had forgotten. The ship went exactly on the strip. Lateral deviation from the centerline - total 3 meter! This is the highest accuracy. 205 minutes of flight "Buran", like all flights of aircraft with oversized cargo, passed without a single remark to the designers.
What did you feel after such a triumph?
Valery Burdakov: This is not the words to convey. But ahead of us another "sensation" was waiting: a successful innovative project was closed. 15 billion rubles - were wasted.
Will the Buran scientific and technical reserve ever be used?
Valery Burdakov: “Buran”, like the shuttle, was unprofitable to use because of the expensive and clumsy launch system. But unique technical solutions can be developed in Buran-M. New, modified with the latest achievements, the ship can be a very fast, reliable and convenient means for intercontinental transportation of cargoes, just passengers and tourists. But for this, it is necessary to create a reusable single-stage all-azimuth ecologically-friendly carrier MOVEN. He will replace the Soyuz rocket. Moreover, it will not need such a bulky launch for it, so it can be launched from the Vostochny cosmodrome.
Catchings on "Buran" are not lost. Automatic aircraft landing gave life to the fifth-generation fighter jets and numerous UAVs. Simply, we, as it was with the artificial satellite of the Earth, were the first.
For Korolev, you worked in the 3 department, defining the prospects for the development of astronautics. What is the outlook for current space?
Valery Burdakov: The era of atomic and solar energy is coming to replace the hydrocarbon, unthinkable without the wide use of a wide variety of space tools. The creation of space-based solar power plants that supply energy to earthly consumers will require payload carriers in 250 tons. They will be created on the basis of MOVEN. And if we talk about cosmonautics as a whole, it will provide all the needs of humanity, and not just information, as it is now.
By the way
A total of five flight copies of the Buran were built.
Ship 1.01 "Buran" - made a single flight. It was stored in the assembly and test building at Baikonur. In May, 2002 was destroyed during a roof collapse.
The ship 1.02 - had to make a second flight and dock with the orbital station "Mir". Now the exhibit of the Baikonur Cosmodrome Museum.
The ship 2.01 - was ready for 30 - 50%. It was located at the Tushino Machine-Building Plant, then at the quay of the Khimki Reservoir. In 2011, it was transported for restoration at Zhukovsky Institute of Physical Chemistry.
The ship 2.02 - was ready for 10 - 20%. Disassembled on the stocks of the plant.
The ship 2.03 - backlog destroyed and taken to landfill.