SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The Russian Space Shuttle Buran, being integrated with its Energia launcher. Buran made its only orbital flight on 15 November 1988, an unmanned test mission. A total of five shuttles were built, known generically as the VKK (Vozdushno Kosmicheskiy Korabl = Air-Space Ship). Buran was only qualified for a single flight, the second and third being qualified for up to 25 flights. The fourth vehicle will be used for training, whilst the fifth is reportedly available for sale. The VKK differs from the US Shuttle in having no main engines of its own; launch thrust is provided by the Energia rocket, currently the world's most powerful.
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