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Buran Space Shuttle

Updated on October 18, 2009

Buran Space shuttle and Bahrain

Not many know this but the Buran Space Shuttle, Russia's answer to the American Space Shuttle, has been sitting idle on the docks of Mina Salman port in Bahrain for the past few years. How did it get end up there? I can hear you ask. A short story that I will relate to you.

Buran 002- The Analogue Buran

The Russian's wanted an anwser to the American's Space Shuttle and developed the Buran Space Craft. A Space ship that had an uncany resemblanc to the American Space Shuttle but was bigger. It is 17 M High and 340M long, it's tak-off weight was 105 tons.

It's development was started in 1976 and was named BURAN, Blizzard or Snowstorm in English translation. In 1988 it was launched into orbit, completed 2 and touched down in Kazakhstan. It could actualy fly by radio control and did not require cosmanouts..

Buran 002 was an experimental craft used to test the landing capabilities of the main Russian Space Craft. The Buran made 25 flights between 1985 and 1988.It was equipped with four turbojet engines enabling it to take off and climb to altitude under its own power. At about 16,000 ft., the engines would be switched off and the craft would glide to it's landing runway. After its final flight, the Buran 002 was retired to an open hangar at Zhukovsky Air Base. Although it was rolled out for the occasional air show, the craft was almost disregarded. In 1998, the Buran 002 was offered for sale through the internet, at Listed for $10 million, the shuttle was also posted at least once to the popular online auction site eBay though no serious offers were received.The analogue Buran was finally sold to The Buran Space Corporation.

In 2000 an Australian consortium brought the shuttle 002 to the Sydney Olimpic games as an exhibit. After six months in Sydney it was taken to Bahrain and exhibites on the Manama water front as part of the Bahrain Summer Festival 2002. After this it was taken to it's storage site at Mina Sulaman Port in Manama.

The Dispute over ownership.

The Buran 002 was at this point bought by the German Technik Museum Speyer, but before it could be loaded onto a ship out of Bahrain an ownership dispute started with part of the Australian consortium claiming ownership. This resulted in a court case which has only recently been resolved in the favour of the Museum.

Used as Worker accomodation

During the 4 1/2 years that it languished on the dicks at Mina Sulman port the craft was at one point reportedly used as accomodation by some expatriate labourers looking for free accomodation. Before it can be put on display in Germany it will have to have a thourough cleaning.

Buran 002 in Germany

Buran 002 has finaly left Bahrain and is on it's way to be displayed in Germany and once its display hall is finished it will be re-assembled and placed on display.


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