The Soviet-era Buran space programme, mothballed 20 years ago, may be revived. With NASA about to retire its ageing fleet of space shuttles, there is a pressing need for viable space transport.
Two decades ago the Soviet space shuttle Buran blasted off on its first and only orbital flight. Just a few years later, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the programme was shelved.
The Buran was the Soviet Union's answer to NASA’s space shuttle programme. On November 15, 1988, the shuttle was propelled out of the Earth’s atmosphere by the specially designed Energia booster rocket from the Baikonur launch pad in Kazakhstan. (cont'd)