The legendary Soviet Buran spacecraft has moved - up till now the shuttle was the gem of the Moscow central Gorky Park but has recently been dismantled and will now reside at the VDNKh All-Russian exhibition center built to showcase Soviet achievements. The 50 ton-machine covered 15 km across downtown of Moscow accompanied by police cars and curious passers by.
It is one of a dozen shuttles that were built for the Buran orbital ship project. Only one could fly in space, but the rest having been designed to test the ship's systems. One of these testing vessels was shipped from Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan and found its last resort in Gorky Park in 1993 and for a long period was used as an attraction.
The prototype was to become a "space" theme cafe with tube packed cosmonaut meals and a flight simulator with 30 movable seats inside capable of giving the illusion of weightlessness, accompanied by a cinema screen showing Buran's only launch.
The Buran was launched unmanned on November 15, 1988, from the Baikonur spaceport, made two orbits of the earth and landed successfully three hours later. This first flight, part of an intended 14.5 billion dollar program, was also the last, AFP reports.
The Buran program was frozen in the early 90s.
Buran was capable of transporting a payload of 30 ton, the equivalent of the capability of several Progress ships, used to supply the Mir space station. Like the American shuttle, it would have been used to place satellites in orbit and to bring them back to earth, according to AFP.
Now, as Buran has arrived at its new home it is expected to be assembled by July 20.
Quelle: THE VOICE OF RUSSIA