The roots of Buran

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Abstract

When Buran swooped down to a safe landing on its Baykonur runway on 15 November 1988, it marked the culmination of more than just the 12 years needed to take it to the launch pad since its official approval by a Soviet government and Communist Party decree in February 1976. Even by the start of the Buran program the Soviet Union possessed a rich database on high-speed aeronautics, gradually accumulated through four decades of work on rocket-propelled aircraft, intercontinental cruise missiles and smaller spaceplanes.