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Report: Russia planning to revive Buran space shuttle
Posted: Thu, Jun 28, 2001, 10:32 AM ET (1432 GMT)
Buran and Energia on laucnh pad In a surprising and puzzling move, Russia is considering reviving its Buran space shuttle to carry equipment and tourists to the International Space Station, according to a British magazine. An article in the June 30 issue of New Scientist claims that the Russian company Energia is moving forward with plans to take the Buran out of mothballs and return it to flight. The Buran, very similar to the American space shuttle, flew only once, on an unmanned test flight in 1988, before being cancelled because of its high cost. Energia officials told New Scientist that they believe that a growing market for satellite launches -- contrary to recent trends noted elsewhere -- and interest in space tourism is sufficient cause to return Buran to flight. The article gave no details about critical issues such as how Energia planned to restore production of the Energia launch vehicle, used to launch Buran, or claims that the Buran can carry 100 to 200 tonnes of payload, when previously the maximum payload of the Buran was rated to be only 30 tonnes.
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