Russia is working on a reusable spaceplane, according to a division of the Kalashnikov conglomerate, in the country’s first such mission since the ill-fated Buran space shuttle of the late Soviet Union.
According to the general director of the Molniya research-to-production center, a full-size model of the plane was shown at a closed pavilion at a Russian military conference last year, and the project is now under construction.
Olga Sokolova was quoted on Molniya’s website as saying, “The goal has now been set, and the development of a multi-use civilian complex with an orbital plane is in full swing,”
In reaction to the beginning of the US space shuttle program during the Cold War period, the Molniya facility constructed the now-defunct Buran space shuttle in the 1980s.
The Buran, on the other hand, just flew once. Despite a promising return trip from the Baikonur cosmodrome in 1988, the program was abandoned due to a lack of funds and a challenge to find a need for the shuttle until the Soviet Union was disbanded.
Years of failures and losses for the national space program followed the end of the Soviet period, including the collapse of the roof of the cosmodrome hangar where the Buran was housed in 2002.
Dmitry Rogozin, the president of Russia’s Roscosmos space company, said in May last year that the Buran was ahead of its time and that Moscow was considering building a piloted spaceplane.