Encyclopedia Astronautica
Buran



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Buran missile
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Buran Missile 2 view
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Navaho vs Burya
Credit: © Mark Wade
Russian intercontinental cruise missile. A government decree on 20 May 1954 authorised the Myasishchev aircraft design bureau to proceed with full-scale development of the Buran trisonic intercontinental cruise missile. The competing Burya design of Lavochkin was launched in July 1957, but the development of unstoppable ICBM's had made intercontinntal cruise missiles oboslete. The equivalent American Navaho project was cancelled ten days later. Korolev's R-7 ICBM completed its first successful test flight in August. Buran was being prepared for its first flight when Myasishchev's project was cancelled on November 1957.

A final government decree on 20 May 1954 authorised the Lavochkin and Myasishchev aircraft design bureaux to proceed in parallel with full-scale development of trisonic intercontinental cruise missiles. Both missiles would use ramjet engines by Bondaryuk, astronavigation systems by R Chachikyan, inertial navigation systems by G Tolstoysov, and aerodynamics developed by TsAGI (Central Hydrodynamics Institute). Myasishchev's Buran would use rocket booster engines built by Glushko. While both missiles were to deliver a nuclear warhead over an 8,500 km range, rhe warhead design specified for the Myasishchev missile had a total mass of 3,500 kg, two thirds heavier than that specified for the Lavochkin.

The TsAGI configuration for the cruise stage was of conventional layout, with a thin profile 70 degree swept arrow wing mounted at mid-fuselage. The fuselage itself was cylindrical and area-ruled, with the classic ramjet shock cone in a nose intake. The astronavigation and guidance systems were mounted in a dorsal fairing. The star scanners of the system looked out through quartz windows.

Myasishchev had began work in April 1953, before the official authorisation, on his RSS-40 (RSS= rocket-aircraft system), code-named Buran (snowstorm). The RSS-40 would consist of two stages, a four-rocket boost stage (the M-41) and a ramjet cruise stage (the M-42). The RSS-40 would be launched vertically from an ingenious transporter-launcher, designed by V K Karrask. The RSS-40 was 24 m long, had an 11.6 m wingspan, a total mass of 125 tonnes, and cruised at 3000 to 3200 km/hr. The ramjet intake cone was canted 3 degrees downward, which represented the pitch angle of the missile in cruise.

Several variants of the Myasishchev M-42 cruise stage were studied. Some were related to improving the missile guidance, including an auxiliary communications package for providing en-route navigation and targeting updates, as was planned for the competing Burya. Another laid out a piloted version, with a cockpit installed in the cruise stage. The pilot would eject and be recovered by parachute at the conclusion of the mission. Myasishchev planned several manned flights to explore the psychology of human flight on the edge of space.

By 1956 Myasishchev was just completing project design, while Lavochkin was already completing construction of the first missile. Burya was launched first, in July 1957, but exploded in its first launch. But events now conspired against the project. The US Navaho was cancelled ten days later. Korolev's R-7 ICBM completed its first successful test flight in August, at the same time the first two Buran missiles were completed at the factory. Buran was being prepared for its first flight when Myasishchev's project was cancelled on November 1957. The Soviet leadership did not see any need for continued development of a parallel ramjet design.

Stage Data - Buran

  • Stage 1. 4 x Buran M-41. Gross Mass: 18,000 kg (39,000 lb). Empty Mass: 3,000 kg (6,600 lb). Thrust (vac): 755.000 kN (169,730 lbf). Isp: 254 sec. Burn time: 50 sec. Isp(sl): 231 sec. Diameter: 1.20 m (3.90 ft). Span: 3.00 m (9.80 ft). Length: 19.10 m (62.60 ft). Propellants: Nitric acid/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: RD-213. Status: Development 1957 November. Comments: Booster for Buran missile. Four used to boost ramjet second stage to ignition conditions. Masses estimated based on missile known total mass. Specific impulse estimated.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Buran M-42. Gross Mass: 53,000 kg (116,000 lb). Empty Mass: 15,000 kg (33,000 lb). Thrust (vac): 103.900 kN (23,358 lbf). Isp: 1,500 sec. Burn time: 8,500 sec. Isp(sl): 0.0000 sec. Diameter: 2.40 m (7.80 ft). Span: 11.60 m (38.00 ft). Length: 23.30 m (76.40 ft). Propellants: Air/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: RD-020. Status: Development 1957 November. Comments: Boosted by 4 x Glushko-engined boosters. 8,500 km cruise at Mach 3.1 at 18-20 km altitude with 3,500 kg warhead. Wing area 98 square meters; diameter of ramjet 2.0 m. Never reached flight test. Masses estimated based on missile known total mass.

Status: Cancelled 1957.
Gross mass: 125,000 kg (275,000 lb).
Height: 28.00 m (91.00 ft).
Diameter: 2.40 m (7.80 ft).
Thrust: 2,156.00 kN (484,688 lbf).

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • M-42 Russian manned rocketplane. Cancelled 1957. Several variants of the Myasishchev Buran trisonic intercontinental cruise missile M-42 cruise stage were studied. More...

Associated Engines
  • RD-020 Bondaryuk ramjet engine. 103 kN. Buran M-42. Development ended 1957. Isp=1500s. Ramjet for Buran cruise missile. 8,500 km cruise at Mach 3.1 at 18-20 km altitude. More...
  • RD-213 Glushko Nitric acid/Kerosene rocket engine. 755 kN. Winged rocket M-40 (2). Development ended 1957. Two thrust levels. Ignition with propellant TG-02. Chamber pressure 233,8 / 46,6 bar. Specific impulse 223 / 231 sea level. Isp=254s. More...

See also
  • Soviet Strategic Cruise Missiles As in America, in the 1946 assessments of German military technology, the technical problems of the intercontinental ballistic missile seemed far less than a high-speed cruise missile for the same mission. The Soviet Union developed several such missiles, counterparts to the American Navaho. As in America, it turned out that the ICBM was ready before the cruise missiles were - the navigation and propulsion issues of Mach 3 intercontinental flight were much more difficult than those for Mach 22 ballistic flight. As in America, the projects were cancelled, although they contributed greatly to the national technological base. More...
  • missile Guided self-propelled military weapon (as opposed to rocket, an unguided self-propelled weapon). More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Myasishchev Russian manufacturer of rockets and spacecraft. Myasishchev Design Bureau, Russia. More...

Bibliography
  • Matthews, Henry, The Secret Story of the Soviet Space Shuttle, X-Planes Book 1, Beirut, Lebanon, 1994.
  • Pesavento, Peter, "Russian Space Shuttle Projects 1957-1994", Spaceflight, 1995, Volume 37, page 226.
  • Semenov, Yu. P., S P Korolev Space Corporation Energia, RKK Energia, 1994.
  • Gatland, Kenneth W, "A Soviet Space Shuttle?", Spaceflight, 1978, Volume 20, page 322.
  • Semenov, Yu P, Lozino-Lozinsky, et. al., Mnogorazoviy orbitalniy korabl 'Buran', Mashinostroenne, Moscow, 1995.

Associated Stages
  • Buran M-41 Nitric acid/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 18,000/3,000 kg. Thrust 755.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 254 seconds. Booster for Buran missile. Four used to boost ramjet second stage to ignition conditions. Masses estimated based on missile known total mass. Specific impulse estimated. More...
  • Buran M-42 Ramjet missile stage. Loaded/empty mass 53,000/15,000 kg. Thrust 103.90 kN. Specific impulse 1500 seconds. Boosted by 4 x Glushko-engined boosters. 8,500 km cruise at Mach 3.1 at 18-20 km altitude with 3,500 kg warhead. Wing area 98 square meters; diameter of ramjet 2.0 m. Never reached flight test. Masses estimated based on missile known total mass. More...

Buran Chronology


1949 October - . Launch Vehicle: Buran; Burya; EKR; G-3.
  • Albring G-3 cruise missile - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Groettrup; Ustinov; Albring; Saenger. Program: Navaho. German aerodynamicist Albring designed the G-3 missile for the Russians. This would use a rocket-powered Groettrup-designed G-1 as the first stage. The cruise stage would have an aerodynamic layout like that of the Saenger-Bredt rocket-powered antipodal bomber of World War II. Cruising at 13 km altitude, the supersonic missile would carry a 3000 kg warhead to a range of 2900 km. This was an alternate approach to Ustinov's 3000 kg over 3000 km range missile requirement of April 1949. This design would be elaborated at Korolev's bureau into the EKR ramjet design of 1953.

1949 December 7 - . LV Family: R-11; R-7. Launch Vehicle: Buran; Burya; G-4; R-3; R-3A; R-5.
  • Groettrup G-4 IRBM evaluated against Korolev's R-3. R-3 project reformulated - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev. Program: Navaho. The NTS (Scientific-Technical Soviet) of NII-88 met in plenary session and subjected Korolev's proposal to withering criticism. The G-4 was found to be superior. After heated discussion, the Soviet approved further development of technology for the R-3, but not the missile itself. The decisions were: an R-3A technology demonstrator would be built and flown under Project N-1 (probably to prove G-4 concepts). Under Project N-2 both the RD-110 and D-2 engines would proceed into development test in order to prove Lox/Kerosene propellant technology. Packet rocket and lightweight structure research for use in an ICBM would continue under project N-3 / T-1. Winged intercontinental cruise missile studies would continue under project N-3 / T-2. Neither the G-4 or R-3 ended up in production, but the design concepts of the G-4 led directly to Korolev's R-7 ICBM (essentially a cluster of G-4's or R-3A's) and the N1 superbooster. Work on the G-4 continued through 1952.

1950 January 1 - . Launch Vehicle: Buran; Burya; MKR.
  • Design of 8,000 km range winged missile begun - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev. Program: Navaho. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Summary: In parallel with the R-5 Korolev OKB NII-88 begins design of 8,000 km range winged missile..

1950 December 4 - . LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Buran; Burya.
  • Research into intercontinental missile approaches authorised. - . Nation: USSR. Program: Navaho. Summary: Council of Soviet Ministers (SM) Decree 'On themes N1, N2, and N3 in the ballistic missile program.' was issued..

1951 March 24 - . Launch Vehicle: Buran.
  • Central Committee decree created the OKB-23 Myasishchev design bureau. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Myasishchev. Program: Navaho. Myasishchev was tasked with building an intercontinental jet-powered bomber, something veteran aircraft designer Tupolev said was impossible. Myasishchev managed to complete the first prototype 103M (called M-4 Bear in the West) bomber ten months after go-ahead. Myasishchev would later play a key role in Soviet spaceplane development.

1953 January - . Launch Vehicle: Buran; Burya; EKR.
  • Expert commission examined the EKR design - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev; Lavochkin; Myasishchev. Program: Navaho. Spacecraft: M-42. In 1951 to 1953 Korolev's design bureau had prepared an experimental trisonic ramjet design, the EKR.The expert commission ifelt that there were still many technical problems to be solved, most of which were better handled by an aircraft designer rather than Korolev. Further, Korolev had to place the highest priority on development of the R-7 ICBM. Therefore a final government decree on 20 May 1954 authorised the Lavochkin and Myasishchev aircraft design bureaux to proceed in parallel with full-scale development of trisonic intercontinental cruise missiles.

1953 April - . LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Buran; Burya.
  • USSR Council of Ministers approve R-7 ICBM, Buran and Burya intercontinental cruise missiles - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev; Lavochkin; Myasishchev. Program: Navaho. Summary: Informal go-ahead was given for Korolev to start design work on the R-7. In parallel, Myasishchev OKB-23 and Lavochkin OKB-301 began design of intercontinental ramjet cruise missiles..

1954 March 17 - . LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Buran; Burya.
  • Baikonur and Vladimirovka launch site plans. - . Nation: USSR. Program: Navaho. Summary: Council of Soviet Ministers (SM) Decree 'On selection of launch area for the R-7, 40 Buran, and 350 Burya' was issued..

1954 May 20 - . Launch Vehicle: Buran; Burya.
  • Soviet government decree for full-scale development of trisonic intercontinental cruise missiles. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev; Isayev; Glushko; Lavochkin; Myasishchev. Program: Navaho. Spacecraft: M-42; M-44. Council of Soviet Ministers (SM) Decree 957-409 'On transfer of intercontinental cruise missile work to the Ministry of Aviation Industry' was issued. Korolev had to place the highest priority on development of the R-7 ICBM. Therefore the final government decree authorised the Lavochkin and Myasishchev aircraft design bureaux to proceed in parallel with full-scale development of trisonic intercontinental cruise missiles. Both missiles would use ramjet engines by Bondaryuk, astronavigation systems by R Chachikyan, inertial navigation systems by G Tolstoysov, and aerodynamics developed by TsAGI (Central Hydrodynamics Institute). Lavochkin's Burya would use rocket booster engines built by Glushko, while Myasishchev's Buran would use Isayev engines. Both missiles were to deliver a nuclear warhead over an 8,500 km range. But the warhead design specified for the Lavochkin missile had a total mass of 2,100 kg, while that for the Myasishchev missile weighed 3,500 kg.

1956 During the Year - . Launch Vehicle: Buran; Burya.
  • Lavochkin begins construction of first Burya cruise missile. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Lavochkin; Myasishchev. Program: Navaho. Summary: Myasishchev was just completing project design of his Buran design, while Lavochkin was already completing construction of the first Burya..

1957 November - . Launch Vehicle: Buran.
  • Buran trisonic intercontinental cruise missile cancelled. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Lavochkin; Myasishchev. Program: Navaho. Spacecraft: M-42. Council of Soviet Ministers (SM) Decree 'On termination of work on the 40 Buran intercontinental cruise missile' was issued. Buran was being prepared for its first flight when Myasishchev's project was cancelled. After successful flight tests of Lavochkin’s Burya missile, the Soviet leadership did not see any need for continued development of a parallel ramjet design. Following the cancellation, Myasishchev sought approval for test of an air-launched version.

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