Russia’s Space Shuttles that Never Flew


During the Cold War, the Soviets were trying to outdo the Americans in space, including their own shuttle program, called Buran. Photographer Ralph Mirebs managed to find the two carcasses of the program in the rottingĀ Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakstan, a giant and derelict structure. Photos from his essay show two of the shuttles slowly falling apart, covered in dust, and sadly abandoned.

They’re very familiar looking, like a NASA Space Shuttle cousin, though the Buran was capable of fully autonomous flight, and took one test flight to space in 1988. Sadly, the Soviet space program ran out of money, and no Cosmonauts ever took the Buran to orbit. It’s an example of politics and global events both driving such engineering marvels, and causing their downfall. Via ArsTechnica: