‘Buran Father’ died in Moscow
On Wednesday, November 28th, Russian aircraft and spacecraft designer Gleb Lozino-Lozinski died of cancer. He was 91 years old. Gleb Lozino-Lozinski was recognized as ‘Buran’s father’, though he began his designer carrier in Artyom Mikoyan design bureau dealing with MiG fighters. In mid-60s he was appointed head of the Mikoyan’ Spiral program that would lead to the Soviet two-stage horizontal take-off and landing space vehicle as early as in early 1970s.
In 1976, Lozino-Lozinsky led new Molniya Science and Production Association (NPO Molniya) that was founded to build winged space plane as part of the Buran space transportation system that would be Soviet answer to the Space Shuttle challenge. Buran flight in November 1988 was the significant success of Soviet science and technology, even as it never was repeated. Lozino-Lozinsky was able to resolve a number of engineering tasks, including implementing of the principally new thermal protection schemes and computer-aided design solutions.
He had never reconciled with Energia-Buran termination – both due to the Soviet Union collapse and resulting economy crisis and to the initial program misleads that stipulated effective absense of the demand for the re-used space plane from the country’s military and civilian users. In 1990s, Molniya was actively promoting MAKS project that included smaller re-used winged spacecraft launched from Mria heavy-lift cargo plane capable of 7 ton LEO payload. Even as chances for MAKS project implementation are rather foggy, its larger sister project Buran will be remembered within Russian aerospace community as a memorial to Gleb-Lozino-Lozinski and thousands of his colleagues and associates who were able to get the ‘Soviet Shuttle’ to fly on November 15th, 1988.
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