November 14, 2008 S.P.Korolev RSC Energia,
Korolev, Moscow region
S.P.Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia held a ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the successful test flight of Buran orbiter.
The Corporation President and General Designer V.A.Lopota delivered a welcoming address to the participants, expressing gratitude to the veterans of the industry for their tremendous work on developing for our country a reusable space transportation system Energia-Buran and its major elements - Buran Orbiter and Energia launch vehicle. He also expressed his confidence that the accumulated experience of working with an extensive network of subcontractors, the scientific and technological potential, and the capabilities of companies and organizations will be put to good use in new space projects, including those proposed by S.P.Korolev RSC Energia.
Taking part in the ceremony were representatives from Federal Space Agency, prime companies and organizations, specialists and scientist who had participated in the Energia-Buran project , as well as employees of S.P.Korolev RSC Energia, including newcomers.
The anniversary of Buran flight was so much celebrated at S.P.Korolev RSC Energia because in accordance with the governmental Decree of February 17, 1976, No.132-51 about development of the reusable space transportation system Energia-Buran, the company (which at the time was called NPO Energia) was appointed to be the prime organization for the system as a whole, and its launch vehicle, reusable orbiter and ground processing facilities. This Decree was based on the initial studies for the system done under the direction of academician V.P.Glushko at NPO Energia - a strategically important company for our country, which is the prime contractor for our country's rocket and space systems and complexes.
The Energia-Buran system (at the initial phase of activities known as Buran system) was developed under the direction of General Designer academician V.P.Glushko and his deputies - Chief Designer of the Buran orbiter Yu.P.Semenov and Chief Designers of the Energia launch vehicle I.N.Sadovsky (in 1974-1982) and B.I.Gubanov (since 1982). Involved in the work on the system were about 1200 companies and organizations from virtually all the industries in the country, out of which about 600 worked on the Buran orbiter, including NPO Molniya which worked on the orbiter airframe and its landing system.
The launch of Energia-Buran system was carried out on November 15, 1988, at 06:00:02 Moscow Time from Baikonur launch site (the first launch of the launch system took place on May 15, 1987). All the systems of the launch vehicle and the spacecraft operated normally. The orbiter flew in unmanned mode and circled the Earth twice, moving in the orbit with the following parameters: maximum altitude of 263 km, minimal altitude of 251 km. The total flight time was 206 minutes.
The flight that was carried out 20 years ago demonstrated the highest level of our country's space science. The performance of Energia-Buran system was not inferior, and by a large number of parameters was even superior to its American analog - the Space Shuttle system. For example, for the first time in the world's history a fully automatic landing on an airstrip was accomplished after an orbital flight of an aerospace vehicle, while its total mass was about 87 tons.
The work on the system was terminated in 1992. In the course of work on the Buran orbiter about 650 new advanced technologies were developed. The preserved potential, extensive experience, enormous inventory of designs and ideas and elements of ground infrastructure are used by RSC Energia and other prime companies in the industry in implementation of the present-day large-scale international and Russian space projects. These include International Space Station, sea-based and land-based space launcher systems Sea Launch and Land Launch, automatic space communications and Earth remote sensing systems, advanced manned space transportation systems. And still waiting for their chance are those solutions and designs, which have not yet been put to good use in present-day projects, but which can certainly be used in the future in view of new achievements in science and technology.