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Russian Space Shuttle Buran sails the Rhine

Pictures and video of the Russian space shuttle Buran, as it is sailed down the Rhine to its final resting place in a German museum.

The Buran space shuttle, once the pride of the Soviet space fleet, has been sedately floating down the river Rhine, making its way to its new home in a German museum.

The Buran was only ever flown once – an unmanned test flight in November 1988. Future flights were planned, but the collapse of the Soviet Union and economic hardship in Russia meant that the Buran programme was cancelled in 1993.

The last surviving Buran has been exhibited around the world – most notably at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney – and will now be on display at the Technik Museum Speyer, near Mannheim, Germany.

Apparently, the cost of transporting the Buran to Germany, and the construction of a new hall to house the shuttle, was over $15 million.

Buran on Rhine pontoon

Buran foating on Rhine

Buran Rhine Side View

Buran Rhine Night from side

Buran Soviet Flag

(Pictures with permission of: Torsten Dillenburg, Marc-Cologne, Walter Kraegeloh, eternaltedium, Joachim S Muller and Netream.


  • The last surviving Buran has been exhibited around the world – most notably at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney – and will now be on display at the Technik Museum Speyer in Mannheim, Germany.

    I beg your pardon, but the museum is not located in Mannheim. As the name indicates, the “Technik Museum Speyer” is located in “Speyer”, just like the “Tower of London” is located in “London”, not “Manchester”.

    Evidence: here

    I sincerely apologize for causing this inconvenience. Dear moderator, please feel free to also remove this comment (fully or in part), should my remark again hurt the tender feelings of some fellow commenter and is being deemed suitable to spark a debate.

    In case my apology should not be considered being comprehensive and satisfying enough, I offer to contact the museum management and will ask to have the museum moved to Mannheim.

  • Apologies Heribert, my knowledge of German geography is clearly not up to scratch.

    I’ve corrected the error and the Buran has now magically moved 25km to the South of Mannheim, thus saving the museum’s adminstrators the logistical and financial headache of having to move their newly constructed shuttle hangar. 🙂

  • Well done Andy ! Btw … I saw the Buran on the river Rhine, the 4th picture (from the bottom) shows it when passing Düsseldorf. It was the second time I saw such special cargo being transported upstream. Some time ago a Russian Tupolev Tu-144 was transported to the museum that way as well.

    It was huge and white … had no KAL livery … and it wasn’t followed by evil Russian (or German) fighters either. But yes, the cabin lights were turned off.

  • I think they’ve also transported a submarine to Speyer via the same method – not sure it was Soviet though.

  • The Tu-144 was transported to the Museum Sinsheim which is (at least seems to be) a branch of the museum at Speyer. They also have a Concorde there. The submarine you mentioned is U-Boat U9 (German classification 205) and located at the mueum in Speyer. The submarine U9 was built by the Kieler Howaldtswerke and put into service on 11 April 1967.

    To particularly attract English and Irish visitors, the museum has also bought the famous “Houseboat Sean o’Kelley”. Here’s a video. Enjoy !

  • Hey Gentlemen,

    I saw the Buran years ago, at Park Kultury. The pics dont show you how big it really is. An impressive beast no doubt. Its great that its getting a nice retirement home though, rather than among drinkers and hawkers in Gorky Park.

  • I’m just wondering why the whoever owned it sold the thing. It’s not like the Russian government is in dire straits for fast cash these days, if they were in possession. But then again, Russia has been quite willing to sell off its culture in the rush (again) to grow economically, which also carries a lot of Westernization baggage.
    Alec L

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