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OK-MT in its sarcophagus


Here are some pictures of the shuttle OK-MT taken at the beginning of August in the MZK building in Baikonur.

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.

End of restauration ?

Renovation OK 2.01

The OK-2.01 shuttle was moved few weeks ago from its storage area (Tushino banks) to the Zhukovsky airport to be restored.

This is the first picture of the restoration shoot by Ivan Kirilov, where we can see the work achieved.

Clearly the « restoration » had to be done for the MAKS-2011, because the heat shield was not restored, only a layer of paint was put on the existing tiles. The leading edge and the nose cone are missing, there is not rear view but knowing that the engines weren’t on the model during it’s storage period there is few chance that they put them on the shuttle.

Update 17/08/2011:

Here are 2 new pictures of the MAKS 2011,  head side for visitors, reverse side … without comments.

Buran OK-2.01 MAKS 2011 Buran OK-2.01 MAKS 2011

Move of OK-2.01 for the MAKS 2013

The Buran shuttle OK-2.01 was moved yesterday (Wednesday 22) for the MAKS 2013.

It’s in the Tushino region, East of Moscow, that the shuttle has been lying for years, this Buran shuttle of second generation wasn’t finished when the program was stopped  in the beginning of the 90′s. Since then Molniya institute has been stocked it on a canal’s wharfage not far from the assembly factory.

On Wednesday 22, June during the day the shuttle was put on a barge to be moved to the MAKS 2013 international air show, which will take place in the Zhukovsky town (Moscow region).


Buran OK-2.01 Buran OK-2.01 Buran OK-2.01

Source: tushino.livejournal.com.


The shuttle has arrived at Zhukovsky on Monday 27, June.

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Le Bourget 2011


From 20 to 26 June at Le Bourget airport stand the international air show of Le Bourget.

I went there the whole tuesday and was mainly interested by the space stands.

Unfortunately this edition doesn’t excel in the space domain. Indeed, the NASA has no stand, the JAXA (Japan space agency) shows only it’s supersonic jet, the ESA shows us some Europe pictures made from SPOT, and the Russian stand of ROSCOSMOS went with their regular mock-ups.

The ESA presents us some informations about the capsule iXV (Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle) which seems to be a new test bench for manned or unmanned (cargo) spacecraft.

Roscosmos ACTS ACTS

On the Russian stand only a mock-up of the new capsule ACTS (developped by RKK Energia) to replace the Soyuz spacecraft is the only news. But this project is in it’s conception phase and computer simulation, it was difficult to know more, and what is its position in comparison of the Soyuz, what launcher will be used, a Soyuz, a Zenit?

About the air show the troubles of Airbus vitiated the European demonstration. The A380 without its wingtip couldn’t flight and the engines of the A400M allows him only to do « normal » passes. At last, the now usual, absence of Russian fighters hedged the air demonstrations.

But some planes on the ground need to be seen, like the C-5 Galaxy, the A-300 Zero G or the solar plane « Solar Impulse ».

C-5 Galaxy A-400M

The lack of real novelty in the space those past times perfectly reflected in this edition, but the presence of some European astronauts at the ESA/CNES stands allow, to the space exploration enthusiasts, to be comforted.


Finally the A380 could be repaired quickly during the week, here are some pictures of its flight demonstration:

A380 A380 A380

The patrouille de France:

Patrouille de France Patrouille de France Patrouille de France

Conference with the Belgian astronaute Franck De Winne:

Franck De Winne

Antonov still wants to complete the second Mriya


Antonov’s CEO, Kostiantyn Lushakov, declared to the press agency Interfax-Ukrain that 300 M$ were necessary to complete the construction of the second Antonov 225. If the fundings are given the assembly could be finished in 3 years.

According to Vyacheslav Boguslaev, chairman of the Motor Sich company, the Russian Defense’s minister Anatoly Serdukov is interested by the assembly of this second plane.

Source: ukrainianjournal.com

Space museum of Kourou


When I went to French Guyana in October/November 2009, in particular to visit the space center and to attend a launch of Ariane 5, I visited the space museum of Kourou. This museum is in fact near the technical center of the space base, few kilometers aways from the city.

It is mainly dedicated to the Ariane program and shows the evolution of this launcher through the years.

The visit begins here.

Launch of Ariane 5 V192 that I attended:

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50 years of human space flights


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.

vostok 1 landing

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.

Pravda Gagarin Korolev

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.

Поехали !!


Reporting broadcasted by TV Roscomos about the flight of Gagarin:

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30 years but no more


I can’t forget the anniversary of the first flight of the american space shuttle, the one that triggered the beginning of the Energia-Buran program in 1976. But irony of the delay calendar it lifted off for the first time during the cosmonautic day, on April 12, 1981.

The STS program will not last longer than 30 years, it already got an additionnal payment for the last two flights, but there will be no more. This program is half a success or half a failure it depends from what side you see it.

Half a success because it allowed the United States to have an autonomous acces to space with a powerful multi-function launcher, a satellite launcher, a space station, and a space truck to bring back loads. Never a spacecraft could have sent into space as many astronauts as the shuttle did, and from so many different nationality. It’s modularity made it the perfect spacecraft to build the international space station and to accomplish a large range of missions.

But it is also half a failure because it hasn’t kept his promesses, such as allowing a cheap and reliable access to space. The launches were often delayed or put back because of a breakdown or an anomaly, the reconditioning costs of the boosters and the orbiter never stopped growing for years and unfortunately two accidents sullied its career (the destruction of Challenger during ascent in 1986 and the destruction of Columbia during the return from space in 2003).

Now the NASA will have to rely on the rockets of its former rival to send astronauts in the ISS and so until they have a new rocket and spacecraft, 2015 at the earliest ?

Of course we can’t forget that the the STS program lasted far longer and done so many things more than it’s Soviet counterpart the Energia-Buran which lasted 16 years (1976-1992/93) with only one maiden flight, but this is other story.