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.
In 1984, for
working up the most responsible flight phase, the flight test prototype
Buran OK-GLI was constructed.
It was fitted with four AL-31 jet engines
mounted at the rear. This Buran could take off under its own power for
flight tests. It performed
24 flight tests and provide handling characteristics information of the