By Akanksha Soni
THIS EXPLORER stumbled across the abandoned remains of an air shuttle stranded in a desert.
THIS EXPLORER described the moment he captured the remains of the £189million holy grail of abandoned exploration – a forgotten spacecraft stranded in a desert.
One image shows the 105-ton space shuttle named “Ptichka” laying covered in dust, untouched for decades after its failed bid to sour into orbit.
Another image shows the 14,866 kgf thrust Energia rocket left abandoned in the same warehouse in the same way.
These images were taken in Baikonur, Russia by British urban explorer Greg Abandoned.
Greg used a Sony camera to click the pictures of the abandoned spacecraft.
“I first found out about the shuttles in an article I came across online and I could not comprehend that the shuttles that had cost millions of dollars were just rusting away,” he says.
“There is something about space that has always fascinated me.
“This was the ultimate place for me to travel to, it is every explorer’s dream to see this for themselves.”
The ‘Blizzard’, was the only successful shuttle to lift into space, on an uncrewed mission, by the specially designed Energia rocket on November 15, 1988.
The automated launch sequence performed as specified, and the Energia rocket lifted the vehicle into a temporary orbit before the orbiter separated as programmed.
After boosting itself to a higher orbit and completing two orbits around the Earth, the ODU engines fired automatically to begin the descent into the atmosphere, return to the launch site, and horizontal landing on a runway.
Buran touched down under its own control 206 minutes after launch.
It was the first spaceplane to perform an uncrewed flight, including landing in fully automatic mode.
The mass of Buran is quoted as 62 tons, with a maximum payload of 30 tons, for a total lift-off weight of 105 tons.
After the first flight of a Buran spacecraft, the programme was suspended due to a lack of funds and the political situation in the Soviet Union.
The two subsequent orbiters, which were due in 1990 (informally Ptichka) and 1992 (2.01) were never completed.
The programme was officially terminated on 30 June 1993, by President Boris Yeltsin. At the time of its cancellation, 20 billion rubles (£189million) had been spent on the Buran programme.
“Launched in the early 1970s and formally suspended in 1993 – the Russian Buran programme delivered a shuttle which orbited the Earth on November 15, 1988,” Greg says.
“It was the only flight of the “Blizzard”.
“Since then, in the middle of the desert in Baikonur, Russia sits and rusts away the “Holy Grail of Urbex” – two shuttles and the space rocket.”