Printer Friendly

First Soviet shuttle flight.

First Soviet shuttle flight

Americans have watched U.S. space shuttle astronauts float weightlessly during days-long flights covering dozens of Earth orbits. The first Soviet shuttle, launched Nov. 15, carried no cosmonauts and flew for only 3 hours, 25 minutes, orbiting Earth twice. But the Soviets see its maiden voyage as a major success.

The flight of Buran (Russian for "snowstorm") came two weeks after its first launch attempt was halted 51 seconds before liftoff when a platform failed to pivot out of the craft's path. Redesigned since the Oct. 29 aborted launch, the platform swung away smoothly during the second attempt. Soviet officials say all intended onboard tests were completed, adding they will not schedule a manned shuttle mission until every one of the craft's systems has passed tests during unmanned flight.

Buran's apparently flawless launch also demonstrates the versatility of the Energia booster, a multirocket system around which the Soviets plan a variety of missions. This liquid-fuel booster could launch nonshuttle payloads, including space-station segments for Earth-orbit assembly and parts of spacecraft for lunar or Martian exploration. Providing more than three times the carrying power of the U.S. shuttles used to transport satellites, Energia also could orbit satellites much larger than any yet built.

Minutes after liftoff from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Soviet Central Asia, Buran separated from Energia. About 45 minutes later and 100 miles above Earth, the shuttle maneuvered toward its 155-mile orbit using small onboard engines. Buran made a remote-controlled landing 8 miles from its launch pad, as planned.
COPYRIGHT 1988 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1988, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Science News
Date:Nov 19, 1988
Previous Article:Discriminating neurons pick the right face.
Next Article:Scientists find hole in immune defenses.

Related Articles
Shuttle: 4 for 4 and SDI too.
Launchlog '86: NASA blast-off plans.
Challenger disaster muddles NASA's future.
NASA sets shuttle launch date, schedule.
Spacebound again: the mixing of the fleet; NASA's launch plans for 1988 and beyond represent more than just the shuttles' return.
Shuttle scientists: an endangered species?
After disaster the quest for answers: in the wake of the columbia tragedy, what will become of America' romance with space?
Beyond Columbia: is there a future for humanity in space?

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters