24Nov2017

USSR Space Shuttles Sit Abandoned

bnuran

The Russian model had striking external similarities to the US Space Shuttle Columbia sparking suggestions Cold War espionage may have played a part in its developmen

Photographs show how USSR-era space craft have been left to rust in an abandoned desert hangar in Kazakhstan. Two test shuttles were found inside a derelict Soviet warehouse near the Cosmodrome Baikonur.

They were both developed as part of Moscow‘s Buran programme which was shut down in 1993 – but neither of the craft were sent to space. In the same building, photographers pictured a vast Energia rocket, designed to propel the Buran, an unmanned space plane, into orbit.

A man stands in front of the enormous Energia rocket, designed to propel the Buran, an unmanned space plane, into orbit. These eerie photographs show how USSR-era space craft have been left to rust in an abandoned desert hangar in Kazakhstan

The Energia weighs in at a massive 2,400,000kg (5,300,000 lb) depsite being made of super-light metals. Two test shuttles were found inside a derelict Soviet warehouse near the Cosmodrome Baikonur, 125 miles east of the Aral Sea.

The USSR designed the rocket to compete with Nasa’s Saturn V, the super-lift launch vehicle that supported the Apollo mission to the moon.

Like Nasa’s Space Shuttles, the Buran vehicles had engines located at the back, and two wings for a controlled landing back on Earth. The Russian model had striking external similarities to the US Space Shuttle Columbia sparking suggestions Cold War espionage may have played a part in its development.

Both US Space Shuttles and Buran had the same shape and size, the same vertical tail structures and even similar colours – white with a black trim. Documents that emerged in the late 1990s revealed how the KGB stole the designs for the US shuttle in the 1970s and 1980s enabling the Kremlin to build a carbon copy of the American system.

This shuttle was developed as part of Moscow's Buran programme which was shut down in 1993 - but neither of the craft were sent to space

This shuttle was developed as part of Moscow’s Buran programme which was shut down in 1993 – but neither of the craft were sent to space

The Russian model had striking external similarities to the US Space Shuttle Columbia sparking suggestions Cold War espionage may have played a part in its development. A 1985 CIA report said there was ‘espionage by hostile intelligence officers, overt collection, by East Bloc officials, acquisition by scientific exchange program participants and illegal trade-related activity.’

The super-strong rocket ship could carry 100 tonnes (100,000kg) – the equivalent of 16 African elephants – into orbit. Unusually, the Energy carried its considerable payload on its side, rather than on the top. The giant hangar that houses the rocket was actually an assembly complex and, measuring 433ft (132 metres) long by 203ft (62 metres) in height, it is the largest building at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

David de Rueda, who visited the site three times in two years to take pictured told CNN: ‘The space shuttles are only a few hundred meters from active facilities. Getting there was an epic adventure, we didn’t know if we would make it because the Kazakh steppe is a hostile environment. ‘But it was entirely worth it. This place is unreal.’ Last Soviet Union hammer and sickle flag is taken down in 1991. Source:  Daily Mail Online

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The record was originally intended as a message in a ‘bottle into the cosmic ocean’ thanks to astronomer Carl Sagan. In 1977 Sagan helped to compile songs and sounds that were hoped would document humanity should the record ever get picked up by E.T.

There’s a collection of field recordings called ‘The Sounds of Earth‘ (included below) which features music from the likes of Louis Armstrong and Stravinsky as well as the word ‘Hello’ in 55 different languages.

Although, you’ll have to listen to the vinyl release to check whether ‘Howya’ features or not!

Copies of the record were put in both Voyager spacecrafts which are still making their way into deep space. They were never officially released to the public until now.

The 40th anniversary re-issue is available in a 2xCD or 3xLP boxset. The fully remastered set also comes with a 96-page book with photographs and new liner notes from the original producer Timothy Ferris.
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