Did Buran & Engeria have any advantages over STS?

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willpittenger

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I am not asking about the Burans simply being newer. I figure the Buran designers might have taking some of the early flaws that STS showed and tried to fix them. I know the Burans could land themselves which has yet to be demonstrated by STS. Anything else? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
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vt_hokie

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No solids, and an independent launch vehicle that could have been used as a heavy lift vehicle by itself.
 
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JonClarke

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I don't share your pejudice against solids, but the eparation of payload from booster was a definite improvement. Energia flew twice, once with Buran and once with Polyus.<br /><br />Jon <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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j05h

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Biggest advantage would be the dual-use crew/HLV functionality. Having the main engines on the core stage instead of the orbiter has all sorts of advantages. The Zenit's incredible flexibility has been it's longest lasting influence.<br /><br />Josh <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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davf

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Biggest benefit was, as has been stated, building a launch vehicle that was independent of the orbiter. Both become more efficient and useful.
 
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rybanis

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I was going to add: It would be great to launch a space station, and an orbiter to visit it in as few as 2 launches. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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cbased

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* Buran was designed to stay on orbit for up to 30 days (with up to 4 people on board).<br />* Energia could continue its flight with 1 engine failure.<br />* Not directly related but - Development of Antonov-225 plane that could carry Buran on top (250 t lift ability).<br /><br /><br />
 
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cbased

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Does it mean that shuttle will still successfully reach orbit with 1 engine not working? I guess it is possible since the majority of the mass is fuel, so each second it gets lighter. If this is so then I appologise for the 2nd fact in my previous post. I thought this wasn't the case.<br />
 
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gunsandrockets

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Buran must have been a better glider than the Shuttle Orbiter since the Buran lacked the weight and drag of the Shuttle Orbiter's SSME.
 
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willpittenger

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One thing I still can't find is a comparison of the cargo capacities. Unfortunately, Wikipedia doesn't list any such information. <img src="/images/icons/frown.gif" /> I figure there are 4 categories:<li>Mass that can be lifted into LEO. (We probably should assume the ISS orbit to make things more comparable.)<li>Mass that can be brought back to Earth.<li>Cargo bay diameter<li>Cargo bay length</li></li></li></li> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
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CalliArcale

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They did toy with the idea of giving Buran a truly remarkable crossrange capability by adding jet engines (and their test article roughly equivalent to Enterprise *did* have jet engines, allowing it to acheive powered flight), but of course since the program was cancelled after the single unmanned flight, there's no real way of judging how realistic that idea was. It may have just been pie-in-the-sky, like the flyback boosters and flyback core stage. Such an awesome vehicle, and such a tragedy that the politicians didn't see it that way. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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j05h

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<i>> So why was it cancelled so soon after it's maiden flight?</i><br /><br />Because it wasn't clearly superior to the system the USSR already had: Soyuz/Progress and Proton. Buran was incredibly expensive, just like STS. At the root, they couldn't afford to fully implement it. Instead they focused on light, modular space platforms like Mir. <br /><br />Sidenote: if you believe in the peaceful use of outer space, perhaps be thankful that Energia rocket was decommissioned at that time. The other payload that flew and failed on it was the armed Polyus battlestation. 20mm cannon and nuclear "space mines" in LEO? No thanks. <br /><br />The technology is still there, if someone wanted to pick up the torch. Not sure about core-stage tooling, but Zenit is still built - maybe you can convince Sea Launch to go Heavy-lift. It still has problems, like side-slung payloads and a lack of mission.<br /><br />Josh <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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At least they had the sense to stop when they saw it was a loser.<br /><br />Since they had other launch methods, it was not essential, unlike the US who was comitted to the STS as the only manned transport method to space. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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davf

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Energia / Buran was a military project. It was initiated to counter the Shuttle. Soyuz was not although it certainly did fly military missions.<br /><br />There are a few other systems that the Soviets developed and flew numerous times unmanned but never did carry people such as the TKS ferry / Merkur and Zond. Zond was in the Soyuz family but would have been launched on a Proton while the Merkur was an entirely unique spacecraft similar in concept to the US MOL but larger.
 
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j05h

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<i>> This I can understand, but I can't help but wonder why then did they build it in the first place. Seems like a terrible waste of money that they could scarcely afford.</i><br /><br />The Sovs did it because the US was doing it. Purely public relations (with maybe a little spaceflight). It was yet another drag on their economy, as was the various "Star Wars" development. Ironically, Russia has largely kept up in the long run. The modern Topol-M is a serious offensive weapon - a maneuvering ICBM with MIRVs, designed to counter antimissile systems. In the mid-80s, all that investment in these military-space projects, combined with Perestroika and the emerging Network (and Reagan and the Pope and Solidarity) all combined to collapse the USSR. <br /><br />It would be nice to see the extremely advanced technology of the Energia rocket still see use. Perhaps a medium-heavy-lift consisting of two Zenits and a core stage that includes cargo instead of side-mounting it. Sort of DIRECT-meets-Energia. That's something that could operate from CONUS, too, since SeaLaunch already imports Zenits and Atlas uses a derivative Russian engine. I have it! 2 Zenits and an Atlas 501! Would it work? <br /><br />Josh <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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gunsandrockets

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<One thing I still can't find is a comparison of the cargo capacities.><br /><br />I think these links have the answers to all your questions...<br /><br />http://www.astronautix.com/project/buran.htm <br /><br />Good detailed information and history plus this link also has a chart comparing the Buran to the Shuttle. I suspect one big error though -- I think the chart mistakenly doubles the actual total engine thrust of the Buran.<br /><br />http://www.buran-energia.com/bourane-buran/bourane-carac.php<br /><br />This is a chart from Russian source.<br /><br />http://www.buran-energia.com/bourane-buran/bourane-desc.php<br /><br />Same Russian source with a description of the Buran. Oddly enough this source describes the Buran engines using hydrogen fuel! For one brief moment I though I had discovered a real eye-popping piece of obscure information, just imagine the Buran using oxygen-hydrogen burning engines! But the same source lists the mass of oxygen propellant carried and the mass of fuel and the mixture ratio is way way off for oxygen-hydrogen engines. Oh well, it was just a mistake. (Perhaps they confused Buran engines with Energia core engines?)<br /><br />I was never much interested in the Buran before, and finding good detailed information on it was harder than I thought it would be. But I discovered some very interesting things in the process.<br /><br />the Buran seems to be a superior spacecraft to the STS, and in light of NASA efforts to develop STS derived heavy launch vehicles the Energia and Buran are also instructive.<br /><br /><br /><br />
 
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gunsandrockets

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<Weight makes no difference to the ability to glide, only the speed at which it glides.><br /><br />If the Buran can glide at a slower speed, that indeed fits the definition of being a superior glider in my opinion. I did some googling and discovered the Buran has a radically lower landing speed than the Shuttle orbiter, 312 km/hour vs. 537 km/hour! Sounds to me like landing the Shuttle has much more pucker factor.<br /><br /><The drag reduction would help in reducing the steep glide angle. However the Lift over Drag ratio of the Buran was the same as the Shuttle Orbiter since the lift and drag were the same. /><br /><br />I wouldn't expect the hypersonic L/D to be different between the Buran and the Shuttle, but subsonic drag is another issue. The Buran lacks the OMS bulges on the Shuttle's tail and the Buran tailcone has some streamlining totally absent from a Shuttle Orbiter and it's enormous SSME bells sticking out. <br /><br />http://jleslie48.com/energialeo/buran3new.jpg<br /><br />http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/36/Buran_rear_view_(Le_Bourget_1989).JPEG/388px-Buran_rear_view_(Le_Bourget_1989).JPEG<br /><br /><br />I did some googling and it seems the subsonic L/D ratio of the Buran is 5.0 compared to the Shuttle's 4.7. That superior L/D combined with a lower landing weight (due to the absence of 14 tonnes of SSME deadweight) makes the Buran a superior glider.<br /><br />
 
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gunsandrockets

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<The Aft OMS/RCS propellant could be cross fed to the/from the Foward RCS.><br /><br />According to astronautix.com the Buran carried 14,500 kg of oxygen-sintin propellant and the OMS and RCS both fed off of the same tankage. Compared to the Shuttle Orbiter it looks like the Buran had simpler plumbing, a higher ISP OMS, more on board propellant, and non-toxic propellant as well.
 
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gunsandrockets

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<I'm getting the sense from the posts in this thread that the Buran/Energia was in more ways than not, a superior launch system to the U.S. STS.><br /><br />That does seem to be the case.<br /><br />< So why was it cancelled so soon after it's maiden flight? /><br /><br />Cost.<br /><br />Russia at the end of the Cold War fell months behind paying military officers their salary and couldn't even afford to pay the electric bills for nuclear submarines docked in port. When circumstances become that desperate, then no matter how good they are spacecraft become a ridiculous extravagance.
 
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vogon13

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Seems like having the airlock in the cargo bay instead of the cabin on the Buran was considered a pretty good change.<br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#ff0000"><strong>TPTB went to Dallas and all I got was Plucked !!</strong></font></p><p><font color="#339966"><strong>So many people, so few recipes !!</strong></font></p><p><font color="#0000ff"><strong>Let's clean up this stinkhole !!</strong></font> </p> </div>
 
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jschaef5

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Wasn't the Buran supposed to be able to land in insanely high crosswinds, completely autonomous. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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gunsandrockets

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<The SSME nozzles are in the aerodynamic shadow of the Orbiter and thus not a drag issue.><br /><br />At subsonic speeds? Come on. I've heard that the tailcone fairing placed on the Orbiter when the Orbiter is transported by a 747 has a tremendous effect on reducing drag. <br />
 
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