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Russian Space Shuttle Buran  
User currently offlineKcle From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 686 posts, RR: 0
Posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 3832 times:

I remember seeing a picture of the An-225 carrying the mothballed Russian Space Shuttle Buran, and looking at the shuttle, it looks very similiar.

If NASA has to ground the fleet of shuttles for a while because of some more major problems then the loose insulation and anything that may be wrong with the tiles, could it be possible for the Russian Space Agency to attempt to restart their space shuttle?

Also, is the Buran just like Enterprise, basically just a dummy test model? What differences are there between the Russian shuttle and the American shuttle?

RIP Columbia Crew...

26 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineContinentalEWR From United States of America, joined May 2000, 3762 posts, RR: 13
Reply 1, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 3820 times:

If the US space shuttles are so rickety (and they are if NASA relies on tiles to protect the craft from the atmosphere's heat!) what makes you think Buran is any safer? It probably isn't.

NASA toyed with the lives of those 7 astronauts.



User currently offlineLY744 From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 5536 posts, RR: 10
Reply 2, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 3814 times:

Off the top of my head, the Buran is smaller, and has no main engines as all the propulsion needed is provided by the booster rocket (Proton???). It has flown once, unmanned, and is probably rotting away in some hole, much like the An-225 was for years, although the Buran has virtually no chance of making a comeback.

LY744.



Pacifism only works if EVERYBODY practices it
User currently offlineTu154m From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 679 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 3792 times:

There is a Buran Orbiter in Gorky Park, Moscow. Not sure if it is the only one!
Steve



CEOs should swim with cement flippers!
User currently offlineApuneger From Belgium, joined Sep 2000, 3032 posts, RR: 12
Reply 4, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 3791 times:

I don't know if there's more than one 'Buran', but at least one, and so probably the only one ever built serves as a restaurant somewhere in Russia...

Ivan



Ivan Coninx - Brussels Aviation Photography
User currently offlineGigneil From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 16347 posts, RR: 85
Reply 5, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 3790 times:

Heh, what is NASA supposed to use to protect astronauts from heat? I don't believe we've developed a better reusable method than ceramic tiles, and I'm not sure that there even is a better material available.

Would coating it in asbestos make you feel better, COEWR? NASA was hardly toying with the lives of those astronauts any more than any other space flight. Its a risky business, and one I, and most other Americans at least, believe is key to the development of humanity.

The spaceworthy Buran was destroyed when the facility it was in collapsed. The other Burans never flew, and are rotting outside where they were manufactured.

N


User currently offlineGordonroxburgh From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2000, 550 posts, RR: 20
Reply 6, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 3755 times:

ContinentalEWR

I would hardly call the shuttles rickety Columbia only flew 40 flights, eg 40 X 8 min launches and landings/re-entrys not exactly a lot of work for something that gets so much TLC. it has had 2 majors also in it life.

Most of its flying is in freefall in orbit, which caused no strees to the airframe and systems.

The tiles are the ideal method of heat protection, nobody in more that 25 years has come up with a beter , lighter more robust solution. they even solved all the arly problems of them faling off.

Back On topic,
The only Buran that actually went into Space (once), was destroyed lat year when the hanger roof at the cosmodrome collapsed. A few engineers working on the roof at the time also lost their lifes. The others we see areound are structural test articles or ones that were never actually preped for flight hen the programme was cancelled.

This site is the best on the net, although I has not been updated for a year or 2 now

http://www.k26.com/buran


User currently offlineGigneil From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 16347 posts, RR: 85
Reply 7, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 3709 times:

Columbia only flew 28 missions. Not 40.

But other than that, 100% agreement.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

N


User currently offlinePositive rate From Australia, joined Sep 2001, 2143 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 3691 times:

Agreed the tiles are an excellent form of heat protection- as long as they don't come off! The tiles are very lightweight and they dissipate heat very rapidly. If you put one of those tiles in an oven and bake it at 1600C you can literally take it out and hold it with your bare hands after 30 seconds or so. The Apollo command module used a different type of heat protection. It was fitted with an ablative covering which was designed to burn away during re-entry carrying the heat away with it. It could only be used once though.

User currently offlineGigneil From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 16347 posts, RR: 85
Reply 9, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 3668 times:

Ablative hull armor would be a great idea, if it were more feasible. People have been working on substances that dissipate all sorts of energy for a while now, it just isn't ready for primetime.

The tiles are great. Even if you lose a few you're still fine.

N


User currently offlineAreopagus From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1369 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 3636 times:

Heh, what is NASA supposed to use to protect astronauts from heat? I don't believe we've developed a better reusable method than ceramic tiles, and I'm not sure that there even is a better material available.

I expect that's true for a vehicle with the Shuttle's flight profile. But Venturestar was to have a metal skin. To survive, it wouldn't do a bellybuster into the atmosphere, but use its lift to stay high and make a more gradual descent. X-20 was to do that, too.



User currently offlineCloudy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 3639 times:

The Buren relies on an expendable Energia rocket to reach orbit - it does not have its own engines, I believe. The Energia program is as dead as the Saturn V program here in the states. From what Iv'e heard, neither of these programs could be revived for less then the cost of a new expendable heavylifter. So even if the Buran shuttles were usable, needed other components of the program aren't there.

An Air and Space Smithsonian article I read recently had some interesting insights. It said that the reason the Buran program was launched was to match any US shuttle military capabilities. The Soviets thought the idea that the shuttle was to provide cheap access to space laughable - they thought it had to be a cover story for some secret military purpose. Once they found out that the reason the shuttle was developed was because NASA really believed that fixing or bringing back satellites in orbit was economical, and that NASA really was smoking its own dope by thinking the shuttle could save money, they started loosing interest in the Buran program. They continued it only to save face and to demonstrate technological equivalence to the USA. They dropped it once they simply could not afford to continue a worthless program.

There's an ironic twist to this story - even card carrying Soviet communists knew more about costs and practicality than American bureaucrats. They made the wrong decision only because we made it first and they felt obliged to follow.

It is like a little kid seeing his big brother smoking dope and thinking "Hey, that's cool! I gotta have some!" and then heading to the hospital with an overdose. Meanwhile, his big brother 's his system has more resources and can handle it better. So he keeps on smokin' while his little brother languishes in detox. But if the little brother can kick the habit and his big brother cannot, who is going to be better off in the end? There is a lesson to learn here......


User currently offlinePositive rate From Australia, joined Sep 2001, 2143 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 3577 times:

Just a query about the Russian space program. Surely the cost of launching a throwaway Soyuz rocket with a one time use capsule is on par with the cost of a space shuttle launch. They are essentially still using 1960's rockets, which although very effective would also be very costly to. Does anyone know how the cost of a typical Soyuz ISS launch costs compares to a shuttle launch??? Is the $$$ difference big??

User currently offlineAfay1 From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 1293 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 3563 times:

The orbital test module, the one like Enterprise, never went into "space", just the upper atmosphere. This model also had 4 turbojets so could take off on its own, although it couldn't get into space on those engines. I don't think that any of these shuttles, however well designed, could be used to go into space without billions of dollars and years of testing. As with anything like this, it would be really cool, but ultimately a pipe dream. Too bad... Sad

User currently offlineAKelley728 From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 2190 posts, RR: 5
Reply 14, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 3477 times:

The only Buran that flew into space is in no better shape than Columbia.  Sad
A couple of couple of years ago the roof of the Baikonur Cosmodrome collapsed, killing eight. Also destroyed in the collapse, due to heavy rain and tons of construction equipment stored on the roof, was the Buran 1.01 space shuttle, which was being stored at Baikonur. Buran 1.01 was the only Buran that flew into space.

Another Buran, the flying prototype (similar to the American Enterprise) is currently in Australia, rotting away, awaiting a buyer (it was sent to Australia and was put on display during the 2000 Summer Olympics).

The Buran test ship used for heat and vibration tests is now an amusement ride in Moscow's Gorky Park.

More details of these and the rest of the Buran ships at http://www.ljonn.com/buran.html

Anyway, even if Buran 1.01 hadn't been destroyed, there were many differences between the Russian and American shuttles, the most significant of which was the absence of the main rocket engine on it. The Buran was boosted into space by the heavy rocket ENERGIA. By itself ENERGIA was able to place into orbit 120 tons of payload (more than enough for a shuttle like Buran). There were only a few Energia's built, and I don't think any exist today. There's no way the Buran could've been hooked up to the American Shuttle booster.


User currently offlineCloudy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (11 years 5 months 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 3338 times:

Its hard to compare costs between Soyuz and the shuttle for many reasons...
here are a few I can think of:

1. Its apples and oranges. The shuttle lifts a large cargo in addition to a 7 person crew. The Soyuz lifts a very small cargo and a 3 person crew. Its like comparing a motorboat to a large yacht.

2. Russian accounting standards are much different from those of the west.

3. You are also dealing with government rather than private sector accounting. Government accounting is always rather tough to figure out.

4. Many Russian space workers work for depressed and irregular wages - they do it for the love of it or becuase they have nowhere else to go. As the Russian economy gets better and better opportunities arise, the Russians will have to treat their people better and that will raise costs. They have already lost many people to foreign companies and countries willing to pay them real money.

5. Much of the Russian economy is not accounted for, at least not using traditional methods. Bribes, barter, black market and grey market transactions are common and unreported. This makes it hard to even estimate the true cost of anything.

6. In both Russia and the US, political considerations drive up costs. If NASA was a private company, most of its resources would be concentrated in a few key locations (like Boeing does in the Seattle area). As it is, NASA spreads out the work to maximize the number of congressional districts it has influence over. Similar considerations exist in Russia. This makes it hard to pick out winner and looser systems from a purely technical viewpoint.



User currently offlineMD-90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 8502 posts, RR: 12
Reply 16, posted (11 years 5 months 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 3295 times:

Good grief, even with the throwaway rocket, surely you could launch at least 2 Soyuz flights (or say, a Soyuz [people] and a Progress [cargo]) for the cost of a Shuttle. The Shuttle is so incredibly complex, which is where a lot of its costs come from. In contrast, Russian space technology is (generally) simpler and more robust, and while it doesn't push the limits of materials, weight, and technology like NASA equipment does, it gets the job done.

User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13170 posts, RR: 77
Reply 17, posted (11 years 5 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3268 times:

Soyuz is something like a cross between Gemini and Apollo, with all those 100's of launches over the decades and being as about as proven as a spacecraft can be, it is much cheaper.
IMHO NASA would have been better off building a smaller, simpler spaceplane in the mid-late 1980's (after using Apollo for much longer), and retaining Saturn for heavylift.
But they had a choice 30 years ago, a Shuttle or nothing.
Technical marvel that it is, the Shuttle could never have lived up to the promises NASA were forced to make about it, the original 'fully reusable' designs would have been much more expensive and complex too.
While I don't want to minimize the tragic losses of Challenger and Columbia, the loss rate for this kind of operation should not be a complete surprise given the number of flights, and remember that it is still essentially test flying of a prototype system, you could only call the Shuttle 'mature' after 100's of flights.


User currently offlineMandala499 From Indonesia, joined Aug 2001, 6769 posts, RR: 76
Reply 18, posted (11 years 5 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 3235 times:

Space shuttle's liability in my opinion is it's main engines.. and the big red/orange/brown time bomb it's sitting on... it's too damn fragile in my unprofessional opinion...

Buran has the right idea... keep itself as a payload carrying a payload and return to earth... keep the orbital slingshot on a completely separate system... It's simpler...

Just my useless contribution...

Mandala499



When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
User currently offlineMirrodie From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 7443 posts, RR: 62
Reply 19, posted (11 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 3162 times:
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My 2 cents, why dont we just use duct tape on the shuttle. Apparently, DUCT TAPE will save the earth. Insane

I thought Buran was in Sidney Australia on Display. At least that is where we saw it last year. 2001 summer.



Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st
User currently offlineAKelley728 From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 2190 posts, RR: 5
Reply 20, posted (11 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 3136 times:

Mirrodie:

Please see my post in reply 15. The Buran in Australia was/is the flying prototype, not capable of space flight. The Buran that actually made it into space was destroyed a couple of years ago.


User currently offlineAlessandro From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (11 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 3125 times:

More Buran talk, it was unmanned and heavy burnt when it landed with remote controll. Not really an option to the Sojuz nor the Space Shuttle....


User currently offlineTransSwede From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1000 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (11 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 3120 times:

For those comparing costs between Soyuz and shuttle - You could launch 20-30 Soyuz for the same price as a Shuttle launch. No joke.

Remember Tito payed $20 million for his ticket - and many space observers believe that it probably covered the cost of his flight, plus a small profit. The Space Shuttle costs between $500 million or $1 billion per launch, depending on how you calculate the cost.

One of the big reasons for this difference is of course that the Russian economy is so poor that they hardly pay their workforce much, but that that's only half the story. The Shuttle program is just so incredibly expensive due to its complexity.

The Soyuz rocket, on the other hand, while it is a bit antiquated has had more than 1600 successful launches, and has had pretty much all the bugs worked out of its design. This makes it cheap to build and fly.

So reusable is not always cheaper, especially if your reusable craft/launch system is so complex.

-----------

And about the Buran - The one in the park is just an old mockup, not the onw that flew - That urban legend is getting so tiresome.

The Soviet Union was planning to build a fleet of at least 5-6 orbiters. 1 was flown unmanned, the 2nd one was to be flown manned, and was almost finished. 3 more were in the early stages of construction. And this is in addition to the flying test-version with jet engines. (to practice landings) But as the Soviet Union crumbled, they realized how horribly expensive the program was, and by the time the first Buran flew, the fate of the program was practically already sealed. They flew one of them to prove that they could, and then shut it all down.


User currently offlineKROC From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (11 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 3090 times:

I think one key point being overlooked as well, is how would Russia fund a venture to get their "shuttle's" in working order again?

User currently offlineTransSwede From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1000 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (11 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3044 times:

They can't. And even if they had the $$$, they'd be better off designing a new craft rather then resurrecting Buran.

"It's dead, Jim".  Big grin


25 GDB : Instead of pissing all that money away on the abortive Hermes spaceplane in the late 80's and early 90's, the European Space Agency might have been be
26 Trintocan : An earlier poster mentioned that the Soviets were interested in Buran for military purposes as they considered the US Space Shuttles as having militar
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