SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The first Russian space shuttle, Buran, seen at night on its launch-pad. Buran was the first of five Russian shuttle vehicles, known collectively as the VKK (Vozdushno Kosmicheskiy Korabl = Air- Space Ship), and was only qualified for a single, unmanned flight. The second and third vehicles were qualified for 25 flights each. The fourth vehicle is used for training, and the fifth is reportedly available for sale. Buran made its one and only flight on 15 November 1988, carried into space by an Energia launcher. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the VKK program was cancelled before any other Shuttle could be flown.
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