Secret Space Warplane
Surely this would only be a problem if there was a secret war in space?
Russia has claimed that it too is working on an unmanned pocket spaceplane similar to the US military's mysterious X-37B roboshuttle, dubbed a "secret space warplane" by the Iranian government. The X-37B at Vandenberg AFB following maiden flight. Credit: USAF What has the robot spaceplane collected up there? Flightglobal …
That reason is that the Soviets stole the plans and designs. Just as they did with their Harrier equivalent and their Concorde equivalent. However, stealing the plans isn't the same as having the skills and engineering to design, build, test and operate a successful Shuttle, which is why the Buran never came to anything but the US Shuttle did. The same applies, of course, to Concordski and their Harrier copy.
The Buran never came to anything because of the break up of the Soviet Union, "Concordski" as you call it flew before Concorde (both being uneconomical), when you say "Harrier Copy", I assume you mean the Yakelov-38, bearing more than a passing resemblance on the outside and being VTOL/STOL doesn't make it a copy, it was a different animal (multiple forward engines for a start) and it was a successful aircraft.
If the "Soviets" stole plans or not, you must not be sucked into this propaganda of thinking that they didn't "have the skills and engineering", you only have to look at their space achievements, to realise they did most things before every other country, they were well ahead of the USA for a manned moon mission (first impact, first unmanned landing, first sample retrieved to list but three), it's only the huge resources that the USA threw at the moon and the political hooha going on that got them there first, and don't forget that the USA Apollo moon program would have been nothing without Wernher von Braun (Nazi in the SS, allowed to stay in the US illegally with a made up work history provided by the govenment) and Arthur Rudolph (Nazi, helped develop the V2) also brought in by the US govenment, also worked on Saturn V had to leave the US because he was looking at being punished for war crimes.
Propaganda is fine (and maybe there's no smoke without fire), but looking past the propaganda at the truth is the key to understanding.
I cannot think of a "sexy" military project, with elements to it that would remove any real public scrutiny (if only for "security" reasons) where the Russian DIDN'T say something like this.
Still, I wouldn't personally know if it is a bluff or not.
Were canned for several reasons, none to do with payload. The delays associated with Shuttle launches were unacceptable to the military who wanted a more reliable launcher, so lobbied for, and got, additional Titan IVs. What finally killed the project was Challenger; the Vandenburg launches would have used an even lighter SRB design which would have been even more prone to leakage and disaster. NASA canned the development of the booster.
Whether or not Uragan ever existed (there is plenty of evidence it was no more than a disinformation programme), the Soviet Union certainly flew and recovered a scale-model spaceplane called BOR-4 four times in the 1980s. The BOR project had originally been part of their Spiral spaceplane, when that was cancelled, the half-scale model was used to test materials and re-entry profiles for Buran. So it's nice to see the Americans playing catch-up ;)
"Experiment GF-1/1 was devoted to the generation of gravitational artificial waves in the upper layers of the atmosphere. The goal of experiment GF-1/2 was the creation of an artificial "dynamo-effect" in the ionosphere. Lastly, experiment GF-1/3 was to generate ionized signals with long waves."
The US gave up on Star Wars 'space battle stations' long ago (at least they said they did). However having found out it was technically viable, if a little pricey, they could be forgiven for worrying about the possibly of some doing it to them. It would be wise to have a way of defending against someone else space battle stations.
Maybe you would want the ability to sidle up to someone else's 'satellite' in space, subtly attach a rocket booster and set the controls for the heart of the sun. I know I would.
P.S. also works for 'eye in the sky space telescopes'
Fantasised, pretty much the same as 'proven beyond all doubt' to the US Government-Military-industrial complex.
Also I was trying to get across the point that the ability to put other peoples satellites out of commission WITHOUT THEM KNOWING might be thought to be useful to a country. Firing missiles at China's spy satellites is the last but one step the US president would ever take, the one that comes just before unconditional surrender.
Ironic really. Zillions of dollars on secret space hardware to find out what the Russians and Chinese were doing, when the people they really needed to be watching were their own bankers and financiers. They've done more damage to America than their cold war adversaries ever have.
Sounds like you could have an effective anti-anti-satellite weapon.
Launch a suspicious secret satellite that's just a couple of pounds of C4, some ball bearing and a radar proximity fuse - when the US secret anti-satellite spyplane approaches it gets blown up.
You are down the cost of one letter bomb - they are out a couple of $Bn and with a distinct disinclination to try it again.
Mind you the X37b does make a quite neat short stay satellite for testing "stuff" for longish exposure in space.
224 is pretty good and > 10x the maximum stay in space of a Shuttle (well it *might* handle that if it was hitched to the ISS and using its power but I'm not sure the fuel cell O2/H2 tanks would boil dry and Max Faget claimed the APU needed to be kept running on idle to keept the hydraulic systems alive).
A semi-russian picture site has featured quite a lot of images of Buran, examples of which (at least training craft, if not live aircraft) appear to be quietly rusting away in parts of the former USSR.
Searching for "Buran" on their site presents loads of coverage. I found it interesting as I recall no mention of the Soviet Shuttle during the 80s or 90s.
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The Russian VTOL program used a totally different approach to the Harrier; Harrier used a single vectored thrust Pegasus engine (nicked by Bristol/Rolls Royce from a French idea btw), Yakolev used a combination of a deflected engine and extra direct lift engines - so not a very successful 'lift' from the Harrier program, so to speak.
British designers had considered this approach over the years and rejected it as being inefficient (the experimental Short SC1 used a combination of 4 lift engines and 1 for propulsion) as it meant the lift engines became so much dead weight when you switched to level flight - maybe somebody should have mentioned that to the designers of the F-35B?
...but its carrier didn't. Take a look at that:
If you love HUGE planes, you gotta love the Antonov-225. Almost the same size of the Hughes Hercules (aka Spruce Goose) in all 3 axis, but this one flies well above any lake. Only one still operational. The smaller version (by comparison) the An-125 is open for business to the highest bidder, though.
I heard the original Buran was buried under its hangar debris when it collapsed on top of it. Pity.
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