All photos © drugoi @ LiveJournal.
For many years, I’ve been drawn to the Soviet space program, with its secrets, politically-creative explanations, and dreams as big as the motherland. The more that is declassified, researched, written about
and digested by me, the more fascinated I get. How could such ambitions and technical advances fall so short, or be abandoned so suddenly?
Needless to say, when I found this photographic tour of the Buran assembly facilities and launch fields, I was utterly engrossed. These images — I’ve selected but a few — are amazing in scale, in scope, and in the end, are so poignant and sad. It breaks my heart to see such large-scale efforts rusting, abandoned in place. (Why have two launch pads, when you can have four, or more?) And to know that the one Buran orbiter that touched space was destroyed, when the assembly facility’s roof collapsed in 2002.
The program is long-dead, but test-mockup Buran lives on (and is viewable, and tourable.) And thanks to the dedication of this photographer, one gets a small glimpse into the sheer scale, the magnitude, of sending an earthbound vessel into space. It takes a lot of hardware.
I see these images, and my heart cries out, “such wondrous dreams were here!”