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7 Aug, 2020 13:25

Back to the future? Russia plans new manned space shuttle based on old Soviet ‘Buran’ to replace Soyuz craft

Back to the future? Russia plans new manned space shuttle based on old Soviet ‘Buran’ to replace Soyuz craft

Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, is looking to develop new options for human spaceflight, according to its head Dmitry Rogozin. It wants to replace the current Soyuz MS with a winged space shuttle, similar to the 1980s Buran.

The Buran (‘blizzard’ in Russian) was similar in design to the US space shuttle. It made one orbital flight in 1988, but the program stalled when the Soviet Union collapsed, and funding dried up. The world's largest plane, the giant Antonov An-225 Mriya, was initially designed to transport it.

Roscosmos is already working on a state of the art spacecraft, named Oryol, for flights to the moon – but the high cost means a cheaper option needs to be developed for servicing orbital stations.

Also on rt.com ‘Soviet space shuttle’: Learn how Buran made debut flight 30 years ago (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

“We need to make a reusable ship of a completely different configuration – something like the Buran with the ability to land on runways,” Rogozin explained.  However, he admitted that the creation of a modern, winged, reusable ship to replace the current Soyuz would be a long time away, noting that continuous modernization is “destructive for the development of space technology.”

The Buran was the first operational shuttle orbiter to be made as part of the Soviet space program. The plane that made the 1988 flight was destroyed in 2002 when its hangar collapsed on it. Two examples, left abandoned for three decades, are stored at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Also on rt.com Abandoned Soviet-era spacecraft captured in astounding PHOTOS

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