Launch vehicle Energia
The first launch of LV Energia
carrying a spacecraft
on May 15, 1987, at 21:30
Few minutes to launch
The first launch
of the Energia-Buran Space System
on November 15, 1988
of Energia-Buran System Space flight
The launch vehicle was first launched from the versatile
"Stand-Start" complex on May 15, 1987, at 21:30 Moscow time.
A mockup of spacecraft "Skif-DM" was used in the capacity
of a payload instead of Buran. The launch was successful.
Changing of all parameters of the rocket motion in time was
in a full agreement with the preliminary simulation results.
The first successful launch of LV Energia proved that
a versatile, heavy-lift LV Energia having no analogs in the
world rocket building has been developed.
The second launch of LV Energia carrying the Buran Orbiter
was scheduled on October 29, 1988. Pre-launch processing
was carried out successfully, weather conditions were favorable,
a wind speed was up to 1 m/s. All commands within the pre-launch
processing timeline were properly executed. To move away
a docking adapter from Buran was the final operation to
be done, however, 51 seconds before the LV Energia propulsion
actuation, the automatic pre-launch processing system served
out command "Automatic launch termination". The Government
Commission decided to delay the launch and drain low-boiling
propellants from the Orbiter and LV. Analysis showed that
the launch was terminated because the LV azimuth guiding
(targeting) system plate was not deflected timely and, consequently,
because of a delayed deflection of a truss accommodating
this plate. After all critical comments were eliminated
and a repeated launch readiness was reported, it was decided
to repeat pre-launch processing and the launch was scheduled
for November 15, 1988, at 6 o'clock in the morning of Moscow
At the time to which the launch was postponed weather conditions
were suddenly switched. On November 15, 1988 weather conditions
were on the limit of established restrictions to a launch
- gusts of wind reached 20 m/s that was beyond the specified
limits. The launch was carried out without critical comments.
In flight, all systems were functioning properly. The spacecraft
was lofted into the orbit with a maximum altitude of 263
k and a minimum altitude of 251 km. A total mission time
of the Buran Orbiter was 206 minutes. Once all pre-landing
maneuvers have been completed, the Orbiter flight accurately
to the runway, landed, run 1620 m and stopped in the middle
of the runway. A crossrange was only 3 m, an along track
bias - 10 m at a headwind speed 17 m/s.
For the first time ever, a spacecraft of such a class was
landed completely automatically.
Return of the Buran Orbiter after its first automatic mission