Buran space shuttle and carrier, 1989

Buran space shuttle and carrier, 1989

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Credit: SPUTNIK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Buran space shuttle being transported by its Antonov An-225 carrier aircraft. The Buran space shuttle was a reusable Soviet spacecraft, similar in design to the Space Shuttles used by NASA. The first and only launch of the Buran space shuttle took place in 1988. The Antonov An-225 aircraft was originally designed to carry the Buran space shuttle and is known by the Ukranian name 'Mriya' (Dream) and the NATO reporting name 'Cossack'. This transport flight took place on 19 May 1989, bringing the shuttle from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, to Kiev, Ukraine. Funding for the Buran space shuttle was cut following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, and in 1993 the Buran program was cancelled. The six-engined An-225, the largest and heaviest aeroplane in the world, is now operated as a specialist heavy cargo carrier with a capacity of up to 189 tonnes.

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