2 Space Shuttles found abandoned in a Russian hangar at the Baikonur Cosmodrome [UPDATED]

The Baikonur Cosmodrome is an international space center in the center of Kazakhstan , 370 km from the town of the same name, located in a place intended to deceive the attention of Western spies during the Cold War era. Russia is known for its seat-of-pants conquest of space, rivaling the United States in this regard. And after 50 years of space exploration, the Russians have accumulated a number of spacecraft and museums recovering quickly filled. There seems no other choice but to leave some abandoned. Here are two forgotten space shuttle OK-MT from the Buran program in a hangar at Baikonur.

UPDATED: Unfortunately the most recent photos of this particular soviet space shuttle Buran are here and here. RIP Buran. Maybe there is another secret Soviet shuttle out there somewhere, only waiting to be discovered by some intrepid explorer with a camera?

Via UrbexFrance.

buran space shuttle 1 space shuttle 19 space shuttle 6 space shuttle 5 space shuttle 4 space shuttle 3 space shuttle 2 space shuttle 7 space shuttle 8 space shuttle 9 space shuttle 10 space shuttle 11 space shuttle 12 space shuttle 13 space shuttle 14 space shuttle 15 space shuttle 16 space shuttle 17 space shuttle 18 space shuttle 20 space shuttle 21 space shuttle 22 space shuttle 23

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7 thoughts on “2 Space Shuttles found abandoned in a Russian hangar at the Baikonur Cosmodrome [UPDATED]

  1. Wow! How current are these photos? I thought that the only Buran orbiters remaining (after the sole operational one was destroyed when its hangar caved-in) were more incomplete than this, and/or were scrapped.
    I suspect that corrosion has rendered their structures to be non-spaceworthy – assuming that any private entity could muster the funds to complete them. Even then, Buran, perhaps even more than the U.S. STS, was an albatross, requiring a huge (Energia) launch vehicle to put the orbiter into a suborbital trajectory. The STS was, marginally, more self-contained, “only” requiring its external fuel tank and SRBs to put itself into a transfer orbit.
    Still, it seems a waste to let these Buran orbiters rot. Completed, at least cosmetically, they would make nice exhibits and/or displays, perhaps at Baikonur, Moscow or Plesetsk.
    Thanks for sharing the pix, Mr. Mongo!
    -Stu Young
    San Antonio, TX

  2. It is such a shame to see these perfectly museum-worthy space shuttles, pieces of history, being left behind. They could be fixed up, put in a museum, used to teach children about a glorious history… Instead they are being left to rot and decay.

    So sad.

  3. Interesting, the Energia/Buran being labeled an albatross…

    It was no different an albatross than STS was, inasmuch as reusability has been proven a very expensive pipe dream (note that both the military’s EELV and the new NASA manned programs have forsaken it as a known-bad idea).

    Energia itself, though, is a much safer system than STS. Just ask STS-51-L posthumously how they would have felt if they could instead have the launch abort system automatically shut down their completely liquid-fueled Energia booster, instead of riding those solid-fuel SRB deathtraps for 120 seconds with no alternative.

    If we had had a fully liquid-fueled solution such as Energia, and something had gone wrong with that and been detected by automation, the booster could have been shut down right then and there, and STS-51-L might have executed an RTLS abort program instead being disintegrated by the inevitable result of SRB burn-through to the external tank.

    The Soviets should consider themselves lucky that they didn’t ride the shuttle road. It’s a very overpriced tollway…

  4. A transfer orbit is between two planets, since the STS never left Low Earth Orbit, a transfer orbit would not be possible. A transfer orbit was used to go to the Moon during Apollo.

    1. The Energia delivered the Buran into an orbital, not sub-orbital, trajectory. Also, the Soviets managed to fly their orbiter using full automation with no crew and it landed right down the centerline in 40 knot winds. We couldn’t do that at the time. The Buran was designed around a non-SSME shuttle idea purportedly leaked by the CIA to the Soviets as a ‘bad idea’ that we wanted them to waste money on. Waste money they did, but the platform they developed was actually much safer than ours, as I mentioned years ago in an above post. Not only that, but if they’d had the rubles to capitalize on it at the time and not been so insular, their heavy-lift Energia was the best and most powerful of boosters for a long time and could have made a splash on the international launch market. Their orbiter was also much lighter without SSMEs. You can call Buran a rip-off all you’d like, FriskyDingo, but at least they had space stations the whole time to send it to. We were busy pointlessly flying a much more dangerous and wastefully expensive shuttle with no place to go for a decade and a half. It’s not terribly valid criticism to make pronouncements based solely on its appearance. After all, how many ways are there, aerodynamically, to build a large spaceplane? They will all have superficial similarity…

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