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Posted by: Nerroth - Wed Sep 29, 2004 11:51 am
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Post Ptichka   Posted on: Wed Sep 29, 2004 11:51 am
A few questions I have been trying to find responses to since the loss of Columbia, to little avail, are as follows:

The Buran was not the only model in the series to be near-completion when the project was cancelled, there was (and presumably still is) a second orbiter, the Ptichka (Little Bird) which was more than 90% complete, at least two more Energia boosters as well as huge storehouses full of spare parts for the orbiter and boosters - apparently they have redundancies for every part in the orbiter, which is more than can be said for the STS orbiters...

Now, in the last 10 years the fates have not been kind to the Baikonur site, and it has been suggested that some of the spare parts have already been cannibalized for other use, but my questions were (and still are):

Did the Ptichka escape destruction when the 1.01 Buran was lost? Are there any remaining Energiya boosters on site? What condition are the orbiter and boosters? Could they be brought to flight condition, and if so how expensive would such an undertaking cost, say in comparison to the overhauls currently underway for the STS orbiters? And the big one: Assuming that positive answers are forthcoming for all of the above, would it not be better to forget about the rest of the STS orbiters and focus on bringing to life a superior vessel which could do the work as regards, say, completing the ISS, of 4 shuttle launches with a single launch?

If anyone here has experience of Baikonur or any relevant knowledge, please let me know if the Little Bird and its... energetic counterparts are not beyond repair!

(info on Buran-Energia at


PS I know it does not directly relate to private aerospace, but if a rich billionaire happens to want to step in and get the jump on NASA, fair enough...

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