U.S. President Nixon approved a
program to develop a reusable Space Shuttle system.
In the USSR, the space shuttle was viewed
first of all as a carrier of nuclear weapons.
The Soviet military
convinced that U.S. planned to use the
shuttle for a pre-emptive nuclear strike on
Russia. Therefore the USSR needed an analogous capability to
maintain the strategic balance.
1976, the Ministers of the USSR launched the program of the reusable spacecraft system. 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 two designs, the OK-120 and OK-92 were submitted
and the OK-92 which was
fitted with two air-jet engines for flight in the atmosphere
was signed. Before the
construction began, the final design was split into two configurations,
the aero test prototype OK-GLI that keeping the jet engines
mounted at the rear and the space flight vehicles OK-1.01 that only
installed with rocket engines.