The Energia/Buran vehicle was the response from the Soviet Union to the United States in the space race as far as the space shuttle is concerned. This response however came late since the launch of the Energia/Buran took place more than 7 years (October 88) after the first flight of the US space shuttle Columbia (21 April 81).

The Buran orbiter is very similar to the US space shuttle orbiter. The paylaod bay has about the same size as well as the cockpit section. The main difference is in the engine section. The US shuttle has three main engines that are part of the orbiter and two small engines for final orbit insertion, orbit change and deorbiting (called OMS for Orbital Manoeuvering System). On the opposite, the main engines of Buran are located on the Energia launcher, so Buran is only a payload that can be replaced by a more conventional non-winged payload. However Buran has two small engines that are equivalent to the shuttle OMS.

The other major difference is the wings. Because of the lack of main engines on Buran and the less important weight on the back of the orbiter, the wing are moved frontward compare to the US space shutte. An other difference is the nose landing gear that is moved backward and has the same height than the main landing gear

These models of Buran and the Energia / Buran launcher have been made using the Revell 1/144 space shuttle as a base. This was possible since both space planes have nearly the same dimensions. Of course I had to redo all the back part of the Buran shuttle since it does not have main engines and OMS pods. I resused the US shuttle OMS engines for the Buran engines and the shuttle main engines for the second stage of the Energia rocket. Click on the small images below to have a access to bigger pictures.

Except for the main engines of the second stage the Energia booster is scratch built.

The Buran cargo bay contains a model of the MIR core module.