The roots of Buran

Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)


When Buran swooped down to a safe landing on its Baykonur runway on 15 November 1988, it marked the culmination of more than just the 12 years needed to take it to the launch pad since its official approval by a Soviet government and Communist Party decree in February 1976. Even by the start of the Buran program the Soviet Union possessed a rich database on high-speed aeronautics, gradually accumulated through four decades of work on rocket-propelled aircraft, intercontinental cruise missiles and smaller spaceplanes.


Rocket Engine Landing Gear Aviation Industry Design Bureau Solid Rocket Motor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. [1]
    G. Vetrov, S.P. Korolyovi kosmonavtika: pervye shagi, Moscow: Nauka, 1994, pp. 56, 72.Google Scholar
  2. [2]
    N. Korolyova, Otets (kniga pervaya), Moscow: Nauka, 2001, p. 262.Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    N. Korolyova, op. cit., p. 293.Google Scholar
  4. [4]
    G. Vetrov, op. cit., pp. 110–111; N. Korolyova, op. cit., p. 316.Google Scholar
  5. [5]
    N. Korolyova, op. cit., p. 316.Google Scholar
  6. [6]
    G. Vetrov, op. cit., p. 111.Google Scholar
  7. [7]
    A. Nikolayev, “This is how liquid-fuel rocket engines and liquid-fueled rockets began” (in Russian), Dvigateli, 4/2004, pp. 44–47, 5/2004, pp. 26–30; M. Yeftivyev, Ognyonnye krylya: istoriya sozdaniya reaktivnoy aviatsii SSSR (1930–1946), Moscow: Veche, 2005, pp. 28–87; G. Vetrov, B. Raushenbakh, S.P. Korolyov i ego delo, Moscow: Nauka, 1998, pp. 538, 540; A. Moskalyov, Golubaya spiral, Voronezh, 1999.Google Scholar
  8. [8]
    M. Yevtifyev, op. cit.; G. Vetrov, B. Raushenbakh, op. cit., pp. 538–539.Google Scholar
  9. [9]
    M. Yevtifyev, op. cit.; on-line aviation encyclopedia Ugolok neba at The latter source claims there were an additional four flights in November–December 1949.Google Scholar
  10. [10]
    A. Siddiqi, Challenge to Apollo, Washington, D.C.: NASA, 2000, p. 53.Google Scholar
  11. [11]
    M. Yevstafyev, Dolgiy put k Bure, Moscow: Vuzovskaya kniga, 1999, pp. 34–41.Google Scholar
  12. [12]
    M. Yevstafyev, op. cit., pp. 45–82; A. Siddiqi, op. cit.; A. Bruk et al., Illyustrirovannaya entsiklopediya samolyotov OKB V.M. Myasishcheva (torn 2, chast 1), Moscow: Aviko Press, 2001, pp. 54–59, 93–116.Google Scholar
  13. [13]
    R. Houchin, “Why the Air Force Proposed the Dyna-Soar X-20 Program”, Quest, Winter 1994, pp. 4–12.Google Scholar
  14. [14]
    G. Vetrov, B. Raushenbakh, op. cit., pp. 190–200.Google Scholar
  15. [15]
    Y. Semyonov (ed.), Raketno-kosmicheskaya korporatsiya Energiya 1946–1996, Moscow: RKK Energiya, 1996, p. 105. Winged spacecraft are known to have been studied at Department 9 by Konstantin S. Shustin, presumably in the 1957–1958 timeframe. His conclusion was also that the challenges posed by thermal protection were too daunting. See K. Feoktistov, Trayektoriya zhizni, Moscow: Vagrius, 2000, p. 47.Google Scholar
  16. [16]
    M. Keldysh (ed.), Tvorcheskoye naslediye akademika Sergeya Pavlovicha Korolyova, Moscow: Nauka, 1980, p. 406.Google Scholar
  17. [17]
    G. Vetrov, B. Raushenbakh, op. cit., pp. 271–272.Google Scholar
  18. [18]
    Korolyov is known to have tasked TsAGI in September 1959 with studying various shapes for returnable spacecraft, including winged vehicles, but it is unclear if the PKA was part of those studies. See G. Vetrov, B. Raushenbakh, op. cit., pp. 272–276.Google Scholar
  19. [19]
    V. Bobkov, “Little bast shoe in space” (in Russian), Krylya Rodiny, 11/1991, p. 25; I. Afanasyev, “Unknown ships” (in Russian), Kosmonavtika, astronomiya (Znaniye), 12/1991, pp. 5–7; M. Rebrov, “PKA or simply ‘little bast shoe’ ” (in Russian), Krasnaya Zvezda, 17 June 1995.Google Scholar
  20. [20]
    V. Petrakov, M. Chernyshov, “Unkown Buran” (in Russian), Sovetskaya Rossiya, 10 April 1991, p. 4; V. Petrakov, “Two Projects of V.M. Myasishchev”, Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, September 1994, pp. 347–354; E. Kulaga “The mini-shuttle of V.M. Myasishchev” (in Russian), Tekhnika Vozdushnogo Flota, 5/1997; A. Bruk, op. cit., pp. 69–70, 74–76, 135–158. According to the latter source there was yet another spaceplane proposal called “Project 49”, but information on this is very sketchy.Google Scholar
  21. [21]
    V. Rigmant, “Under the signs ‘ANT’ and ‘Tu’” (in Russian), Aviatsiya i kosmonavtika, 11/1999; V. Rigmant, Samolyoty OKB A.N. Tupoleva, Moscow: Rusavia, 2001.Google Scholar
  22. [22]
    G. Vetrov, B. Raushenbakh, op. cit., pp. 298–300.Google Scholar
  23. [23]
    I. Afanasyev, “Kosmoplan” (in Russian), Krasnaya zvezda, 26 August 1995; A. Siddiqi, op. cit., pp. 230–232, 241, 305–312, 441–442; G. Yefremov (ed.), 60 let samootverzhennogo truda vo imya mira, Moscow: Oruzhiye i tekhnologii, 2004, pp. 97–100.Google Scholar
  24. [24]
    N. Kamanin, Skrytyy kosmos (kniga 1), Moscow: Infortekst, 1995, p. 87.Google Scholar
  25. [25]
    Y. Kazarov, “The child mortality of Buran” (in Russian), Nezavisimaya gazeta/Nauka, 13 November 2003. In 1960 Mikoyan had also been involved together with Korolyov and chief designer of anti-missile systems Grigoriy Kisunko in a proposal to develop an antisatellite system launched by an R-7 derived rocket. See G. Kisunko, Sekretnaya zona, Moscow: Sovremennik, 1996, p. 393.Google Scholar
  26. [26]
    A. Mikoyan, “Future of aerospace technologies” (in Russian), Krasnaya zvezda, 9 January 1962.Google Scholar
  27. [27]
    N. Kamanin, Skrytyy kosmos (kniga 4), Moscow: Novosti kosmonavtiki, 2001, pp. 144–145, 222–223, 240.Google Scholar
  28. [28]TV documentary “Udarnaya sila”, shown on the Russian ORT television channel, 20 March 2007; B. Hendrickx correspondence with Vadim Lukashevich, 7 April 2007.Google Scholar
  29. [29]A detailed history of the Spiral program can be found in a series of articles by V. Lukashevich, V. Trufakin, S. Mikoyan in the journal Aerokosmicheskoye obozreniye, 3/2005, 4/2005, 5/2005, 6/2005, 1/2006, 2/2006 and in Aviatsiya i kosmonavtika, 10/2006, 11/2006, 12/2006, 1/2007, 2/2007; An English summary can be found in: V. Lukashevich, “Predecessor of Shuttle and Buran: Spiral Orbital Aircraft Programme, Air Fleet, 4/2004.Google Scholar
  30. [30]
    S. Belotserkovskiy, Pervoprokhodtsy vselennoy, Moscow: Mashinostroyeniye, 1997, pp. 73–99.Google Scholar
  31. [31]
    J. Doran, P. Bizony, Starman: The Truth Behind the Legend of Yuriy Gagarin, London: Bloomsbury, 1999, pp. 171–174.Google Scholar
  32. [32]
    S. Belotserkovskiy, Diplom Gagarina, Moscow: Molodaya gvardiya, 1986.Google Scholar
  33. [33]
    S. Belotserkovskiy, Gibel Gagarina, Moscow: Mashinostroyeniye, 1992.Google Scholar
  34. [34]TV documentary Udarnaya sila, op. cit. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Praxies Publishing Ltd, Chichester, UK 2007

Personalised recommendations