Archives for 'Baikonur'
Last week he fought back and slipped inside the vertical test building of the Energia launcher. Actually there is inside a full-size mock-up of the Energia M launcher which was a less powerfull version of Energia intented for launching less massive satellites (34t instead of 100t in low earth orbit).
Source: Ralph Mirebs.
Today we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Buran’s flight.
The start was given at 6 o’clock AM (Moscow time) under a thick cloud cover. The flight went through without specifics troubles and the shuttle landed smoothly on the runway of the Yubileyniy’s airport, specially designed for this purpose.
This flight is a first in the history of space exploration because it’s the first automatic flight of a space shuttle. Only the de-orbit command was transmitted from the ground.
Unfortunately, the financial and political situation of the USSR at that time was disastrous, the program was expensive and priorities has changed. The Energia-Buran program is slowly paused. There will be no further launches, despite the many opportunities that allowed the shuttle. Even the launcher Energia is abandoned.
Since then, no manned shuttle has reiterated the achievement of being driven solely by the on-board computer.
This program has been the swansong of the Soviet Cosmonautics.
Here is some pictures taken in October 2010 of the Energia M mock-up in the vertical vibration test building in Baikonur.
Other pictures are here in the gallery.
Few weeks ago some people got inside the Buran’s assembly building at Baikonur, the MZK. They found two shuttles, the test shuttle OK-MT and the second shuttle of first generation OK-1.02 named Ptichka (little bird).
This shuttle was finished at 95% when the program was stopped and had some modifications in comparison of the model which flew.
On those pictures we can see that the cabin lost a lot of its on-board apparels during the last years. It is difficult to imagine what was really the completion level at that time. We can also see the details of the air-lock module for docking with the MIR space station (APAS system).
This building has been disused since the end of the program (beginning of the 90′s) this is easily noticeable due to the pile of dust on the orbiter.
50 years ago day to day at 09h07 the Vostok rocket brought on board the first space traveler, Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin. His flight was short (one orbit of 108 minutes), indeed nobody knew at that time how the human body will act in weightlesness, is it possible to breath, is it possible to drink… This is why the flight was to be the shortest possible. The Gagarin’s mission was to be the first to go to the unknown and simply see if men could live in weightlesness, thus, his first words were « I’m feeling ok ! ».
At the end of his orbit the Vostok spacecraft automatically began its descent in the atmosphere, then the ejection system of his seat trigerred at 7000m height and Gagarin was catapulted outside his spacecraft to land under his parachute. The people of the Saratov village near by were first scared by the man in spacesuit (they first saw he was an American pilot shoot down by the defence) then they come in mass to welcome the man coming from nowhere. During years the Soviet authorities kept secret the fact that Gagarin, and all the cosmonauts of the Vostok program, were ejected of the spacecraft because it didn’t have a soft landing system, but for a record to be ratified the pilot must land within his spacecraft. But the facts are there, Gagarin was the first man to orbit Earth.
Those 108 minutes of flight made Gagarin a national Hero and a Hero of mankind. The space travels were too dangerous at that time and the authorities forbidden him to flight again, it was also forbidden for him to pilot a plane, he was too precious. During the years that followed his flight he visited more than 25 countries and participated to numerous receptions, but he wanted only one thing, going back into space. After harsh discussions he obtained the authorisation to flight a MIG-15, but it was the last plane he ever flown. He died at the age of 34 on mars 27, 1968 with his instructor Vladimir Seriogine in strange conditions that are not all known, after his plane become unstable.
Since 50 years spaceships and rockets have been improved, and now it is possible to make long duration stay of 6 months and more inside the international space station, where the picture of Gagarin sit enthroned in the command module, which is Russian, but the irony of History wants that the cosmonauts of today still go up in a rocket similar of the Gagarin’s Vostok, the Soyuz.
Reporting broadcasted by TV Roscomos about the flight of Gagarin:
Pictures on Polyus are difficult to find, mostly because it was part of the Soviet military defense program.
Here are 3 new pictures of the Polyus on the launch pad 250 with the Energia launch vehicle.
Other pictures on Polyus here.
Back from my little trip in Russia I publish pictures of the space museums I visited. Here, it’s the museum of aviation and cosmonautic which is located in Moscow not far from the former airport.
Other museum’s pictures will come.
Here begin the visit.