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Buran Launch Vehicle

The Russian Federation's only large-scale reusable space transportation system was the Buran space shuttle, flown only once in 1988 in an unmanned mode. The Buran orbiter was quite similar to the US Space Shuttle with a mass of 75 metric tons, a payload capacity of 30 metric tons, a length of 36.4 m, and a wing-span of 24 m. Unlike the US Space Shuttle, Buran did not carry main engines which are employed during lift-off, since this function was performed by the Energiya launch vehicle central stage. During the early 1990's, a man rated Buran spacecraft was being prepared for flight, but in 1993 the program was officially terminated. Much of the remaining Buran hardware has been mothballed and is in storage at the Baikonur Cosmodrome (References 302-310).


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