ORBITER NAME: OK-GLI (BST-02)
CONSTRUCTION DATE: 1984
SPACE FLIGHTS: NONE (AERO TEST MODEL USED FOR ATMOSPHERE FLIGHTS)
CURRENT LOCATION: SINSHEIM, GERMANY
STATUS: DISPLAY ATTRACTION
PICTURE: The Analogue Flight Test (OK-GLI) Buran on its way to Australia
PICTURE: Where's the Duty Free Shop? - The OK-GLI Test Pilots complete a flight.
PICTURE: The BURAN OK-GLI Exhibit at Darling Harbor Sydney.
No doubt, one of the most recognisable Burans is OK-GLI (BST-02) - the analogue aero test model.
OK-GLI was the Russian equivalent to the American Enterprise shuttle flight tester. Unlike the Enterprise, however, which was launched from a converted 747, OK-GLI was outfitted with turbojet engines, so it could take off and land just like any other plane.
OK-GLI was used primarily for horizontal flight tests. This Buran BST-02 'analogue' had the same aerodynamic, centre of gravity, and inertial characteristics as the final space flight orbiter.
It differed in being equipped with four AL-31 turbojet engines, mounted at 4 degrees off the horizontal axis. These allowed the analogue to fly from conventional air fields and conduct the repetitive tests necessary to develop the automated landing system.
The analogue was equipped with the same essential systems as the orbiter, including the RM-1 and RM-2 ejection seats, the GSP and VIU navigation systems; the landing gear, landing system antennae, thermal sensors, and first and second group accelerometers. Prior to completion the OK-GLI was used on the 3M-T transport to test fight characteristics of the 3M-T/orbiter combination, the OK-launch vehicle interface attach points, and to develop the optimal transport configuration.
After completion it began a series of test flights to verify the subsonic aerodynamic characteristics of the design and develop the manual and automatic flight and landing systems.
OK-GLI retired to the Zhukovskiy test centre near Moscow. It was often rolled out for exhibition during air shows, most recently at MAKS 1999.
In March 2000 OK-GLI was shipped by boat to Sydney Australia where she was on display at the entrance to Darling Harbor. She was to remain there for 2 years before beginning a tour of major Australian capital cities and then selected South-East Asian capitals before being returned to Russia.
Due to poor ticket sales, however, the tour was cancelled after Sydney, OK-GLI then began a long journey back to Russia, due to financial hiccups, for some period of time OK-GLI became stuck in Bahrain before eventually finding a home in a German Aerospace museum in Sinsheim.