SOURCE: Modified from: Wade's Encyclopedia Astonomica site.
This is a concise history of the Buran-Energia project - From its humble begins in the 1970's through to the epic launch in 1987, and finally through to the program's suspension in 1993. So, lets get started!
15 March 1985
Energia cold flow tests - From March-October 1985 the Ts core stage was back on the UKSS test/launch stand for cold flow tests. A total of nine cryogenic fuelling cycle were completed with the 4M Energia mock-up, representing the first operational use in the world of super-chilled hydrogen.
BOR-5 Flight 3 - Mass: 1400 kg. Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Vehicle: Kosmos 65MP - Suborbital test of 1/8
Buran Analog BST-02 taxi test 2 - Launch Site: Baikonur - Maximum speed 200 kph - Time 14 minutes.
Buran Analog BST-02 taxi test 3 - Launch Site: Baikonur - Maximum speed 270 kph - Time 12 minutes.
Buran Analog BST-02 taxi test 4 - Launch Site: Baikonur - Maximum speed 300 kph.
Buran Analog BST-02 flight 1 - Launch Site: Baikonur - Maximum speed 480 kph - Maximum altitude 1500 m - Time 12 minutes.
Buran Analog BST-02 taxi test 5 - Launch Site: Baikonur - Maximum speed 170 kph - Time 12 minutes.
Wings for first flight Buran arrive at Baikonur.
Buran Analog BST-02 flight 2 - Launch Site - Baikonur - Maximum speed 520 kph - Maximum altitude 3000 m - Time 36 minutes.
Buran project in crisis - By January 1986 it was clear that the project, now three years behind schedule, had no prospect of completion due to problems in obtaining deliveries of equipment for Buran, numerous problems in assembling the orbiters and lack of manpower at Baikonur, and a general loss of management focus. Minister O D Bakhnov called a large group of industry leaders to the cosmodrome to review measures to concentrate and accelerate the remaining work. Three 'Tiger Teams' were set up. The first, led by Semenov, was to finish the flight Buran orbiter and associated facilities in time for a third quarter 1987 launch. The second, led by B I Gubanov, was to finish the Energia launch vehicle and fly it, without the Buran mock-ups if necessary, at the earliest possible date. The third group, led by S S Banin, was to complete the assembly and launch facilities.
First Buran payload arrives at Baikonur - The first Buran payload, 37KB module s/n 37070, is delivered by freight car. The 37KB modules, similar to the Kvant module of the Mir space station, were to be standard on the early Buran flights. 37KB-37070 itself primarily contained instrumentation to measure the performance of the orbiter and its structure on its first flight.
First Energia full thrust test - This was to be the first 20 second Energia main engine firing test. It was terminated at 2.58 seconds when the automatic control system detected a slow spool up of an engine turbine. In a the first attempt at a full-duration test helium leaks contaminated electro-hydraulic systems, leading to a situation where the tanks could not be drained. An engineering brigade had to work on the fuelled booster for 55 minutes, attach another helium tank, which led to successful de-fuelling of the vehicle.
Buran Analog BST-02 taxi test 6 - Launch Site: Baikonur - Time 14 minutes.
Electrical tests of the Buran flight vehicle begin.
Buran Analog BST-02 flight 3 - Launch Site: Baikonur - Maximum speed 540 kph. Maximum altitude 4000 m - Time 23 minutes.
Buran Analog BST-02 flight 4 - Launch Site: Baikonur - Maximum speed 530 kph. Maximum altitude 4000 m. Time 22 minutes.
Buran Analog BST-02 flight 5 - Launch Site: Baikonur - Time 25 minutes.
Buran Analog BST-02 flight 6 - Launch Site: Baikonur - Time 23 minutes.
Tests of Energia with payload cannister - Following the decision to make the first flight of Energia without a Buran orbiter, in August-September 1986 further UKSS tests of Energia were conducted. These used a dummy payload and solid rocket motors to simulate loads from the booster rockets.
Second Energia full thrust test - The second engine test was a complete success, the engine running for 390 seconds. This test required the entire city of Leninsk to be without water for ten days in order to accumulate enough water for the UKSS cooling system.
Buran Analog BST-02 flight 7 - Launch Site - Baikonur - First automatic landing from 4000 m altitude - Time 24 minutes.
Buran Analog BST-02 flight 8 - Launch Site: Baikonur - Time 17 minutes.
BOR-5 Flight 4 - Mass: 1400 kg. Launch Site: Kapustin Yar . Launch Vehicle: Kosmos 65MP - Suborbital test of 1/8 scale model of Buran. Typical trajectory: ascent to 120 km; pitch down to drive model in atmosphere at 45 degree at Mach 18.5. None were reflown but at least 4 were recovered.
Buran Analog BST-02 flight 9 - Launch Site - Baikonur - Time 17 minutes.