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15 November 1988 - Soviet Space Shuttle Buran's Maiden Flight

launch soviet buran space shuttle 15 november 1988

On 15 November 1988, the Soviets launched the Buran, Orbiter K1. The first flight of its Space Shuttle program.

It was the first time the Soviets launched a reusable orbiter.

It launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on an expendable Energia rocket.

sunset buran space shuttle 14 november 1988
Here you can see the Buran ready at sunset the day before the launch

This first 3-hour, 20- minute flight was unmanned. A second unmanned mission was planned for 1989. But the collapse of the Soviet union prevented this. The Buran program was officially cancelled in 1993. 

With the end of the Soviet Union, the funding for space exploration also dried up. This led to a collapse of a hangar on the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan which housed the Buran in 2002.

The spacecraft was completely destroyed.

buran collapsed hangar baikonur


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