Photographer Stumbles Across An Abandoned Russian Wooden Space Shuttle In A Forest

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The Russians were the pioneers of the space program. They were the first to send a satellite into orbit, the first to send a man on the moon, the first to land a rocket on the moon and so on. If it hadn’t been the very shady landings of Apollo 11 with Neil Armstrong onboard, the Russians would have been the clear winners of the space race, but the USA took over them at the touchline. Still, Russian technology was deemed better by space experts, and much of the pioneering work on rockets and their fuel was done by them. Similarly like the USA, Russian also felt pride about their space program and invested heavy in its design and development. This old Russian space shuttle made entirely from wood is the reminder of the grand Soviet Space program. Made at an exact 1:3 scale, it was used to test the aerodynamics in the wind tunnel machines.

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It is located in the old portion of the Zhukovsky airfield [Ramenskoye Airport] that used to be a major place of activity but since has been abandoned just like many other ambitious Soviet programs. It was photographed by Aleksander Markin, and he believes it is a direct result of the VKK space orbiter platform which was started to beat the USA in the development of a reusable shuttle in the 1980s. Now all that remains is the wooden plane at the edge of the once busy airfield. 

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Now it isn’t your average wooden life-sized model of the plane by some enthusiast. It has an astonishing level of detail and careful design to mimic the actual design of the space shuttles being considered by the Roscosmos Space Agency. It wasn’t the only model prepared as records show more than 85 of these were built with varying designs, and they were all tested in the wind tunnels extensively. But, for once the USA’s superior funding proved better, and the Russians eventually decided to make their crafts with a similar design. The falling of the Soviet economy also played an important part in the program’s demise. The program was eventually shut down in 1993 along with the two shuttles that were probably under development. Now they too rust in a hangar in Buran Space Station, Kazakhstan.



  1. Tim Reply

    You may need to do more research on the history of the race to the moon. The US didn’t just beat the Russians at the finish line; the Russians were out of the race by end of 1968. Additionally, it is debatable that Russian technology was deemed superior.

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