after failure of the N-1 Lunar rocket, the Soviet military preferred a
new family of modular following the loss of space race to America. In
1976, the Ministers of the USSR launched the program of the reusable spacecraft system. The former OKB-1 bureau was restructured to NPO Energia enterprise that in charge of the program development. The
U.S. shuttle design was studied by Russian scientists and
the obvious choice was a straight
aerodynamic copy of it.
The military specification was
issued at the same time with the code name Buran.
MiG was selected as subcontractor
to build the orbiter. For this purpose, MiG spun off a new design
bureau, Molniya. The
construction of the shuttles began in 1980.
The first flight schedule was planned in 1983 but development problems
led to serious delay. In 1984 the
first full-scale Buran was rolled out.
For working up the most
responsible flight phase, the flight test prototype Buran OK-GLI was
constructed and performed 24 flights. In 1988, the Energia carried
unmanned Buran orbiter and completed first and only launch of the Energia-Buran
program. The Buran orbited the earth twice and performed automated