The Soviet Space Shuttle & The Kazakh Khan

EnolaGaia

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This story is so complex and involves so many strange issues that I'm at a loss as to where to put it. Insofar as it involves historical events among adversarial parties and a recent proposal for a deal entangled in those events and the tensions they generated, I'm tempted to place it under Conspiracy.

Let's start with the latest developments and leave the convoluted back story for excavation by those interested in exploring this strange storyline ...

The Soviet Union was pursuing its own version of the American space shuttle technology and operations at the time it collapsed. This was the Buran program. Only one of the multiple Buran orbiters ever undergoing construction (the first, named Buran) ever flew (an unmanned test flight in 1988). Buran ended up stored in its massive hangar facility at Baikonur (in Kazakhstan), where it was destroyed in 2002 when the building collapsed as catastrophically as the USSR. The second Buran orbiter in line for operations (named Ptichka) was at least 95% completed at the time the program was cancelled.

Fast-forward to the present day ... A Kazakh businessman who is fighting to realize his claimed ownership of Ptichka is offering the spacecraft to Russia in exchange for the skull of a 19th century Kazakh khan who led a rebellion against czarist colonization, died, and has recently emerged as a national / ethnic hero figure.

Now ... Read on ...
 

EnolaGaia

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Here's the news item outlining the most recent developments ...

I love the quote attributed to the businessman Musa: "It is not water that flows in our veins, but blood, and it has the scent of wormwood." I find this apropos, insofar as the story seems so weird as to be a demented side-effect of absinthe.

NOTE; Burya was a nickname for the Buran orbiter no. 2.
Let’s make a deal: Entrepreneur wants to trade Buran shuttle for a skull

Tensions are continuing to escalate between a Kazakh businessman and Russian space officials over the fate of the second Buran-class orbiter, named Burya.

The businessman, Dauren Musa, claims ownership of Burya. This was the second orbiter built as part of the Soviet Buran program, which aimed to produce a fleet of space shuttle-like vehicles four decades ago. At the time of the program's cancellation in 1993 due to a lack of funding, the Burya vehicle was deemed to be more than 95 percent completed for flight operations.

The first Buran shuttle made just a single, unpiloted flight to orbit in 1988. However, this vehicle was destroyed in 2002 after the roof of the hangar where it was stored at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan collapsed. The loss of the original Buran makes Burya all the more valuable to Russian space officials. ...

Burya is located in a separate facility at the Baikonur cosmodrome. After it was vandalized by graffiti artists this spring, Russian officials, including head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin, became increasingly concerned about its future.

Musa, however, does not simply want to give the vehicle back to Russia. In September, reports emerged that he would only return Burya to Russia in exchange for the skull of the last Kazakh Khan, a man named Kenesary Kasymov. He has emerged as a hero in modern-day Kazakhstan for leading a 10-year struggle opposing the Russian Empire's attempts to colonize the region during the 1840s. A rival ultimately beheaded Kenesary Kasymov in 1847 and sent his head to Russia.

Now, Musa wants the skull back, and he is willing to trade Burya for it. In an interview published Friday in a Russian language newspaper in Kazakhstan, Musa escalated his rhetoric. He said he would definitely not allow the shuttle to be returned to Russia for nothing, emphasizing the value of Burya as a bargaining chip by noting that it is the most valuable Russian artifact in Kazakhstan. He emphasized his determination, saying, "It is not water that flows in our veins, but blood, and it has the scent of wormwood." Wormwood is a common plant in Kazakhstan and a key ingredient of absinthe.

The skull of Kenesary Kasymov may be in St. Petersburg, Russia. Or it may not. Russian officials say they don't know where it is located.

So how did Musa obtain title to the Burya vehicle? This is where the story becomes slightly murky. ...
FULL STORY: https://arstechnica.com/science/202...s-to-trade-soviet-shuttle-for-historic-skull/
 

EnolaGaia

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Kondoru

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Seems a poor trade to me.

(I offered an Ikon for Buran back in the middle 90s but they turned it down)
 

ChasFink

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I love the quote attributed to the businessman Musa: "It is not water that flows in our veins, but blood, and it has the scent of wormwood." I find this apropos, insofar as the story seems so weird as to be a demented side-effect of absinthe.

A side note here: Of course we all now know that modern research shows wormwood and absinthe do not produce any form of dementia other than that produced by any heavy alcohol use. I drink absinthe, and I remain absolutely norbal.
 

Ascalon

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Great thread, but needs more pictures...

In the glory days...
Buran_on_An-225_%28Le_Bourget_1989%29_1.JPEG


Forgotten.
2989DEC500000578-0-image-a-93_1434028046350.jpg

original

adandoned-space-shuttle.jpg


Collapsed.
Z121.jpg
 

cycleboy2

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Great thread, but needs more pictures...

In the glory days...
Buran_on_An-225_%28Le_Bourget_1989%29_1.JPEG


Forgotten.
2989DEC500000578-0-image-a-93_1434028046350.jpg

original

adandoned-space-shuttle.jpg


Collapsed.
Z121.jpg
Their building standards don't look great...

Fantastic pictures, Ascalon, most appreciated.
 
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