Saturday, March 20, 2010
For a Different Kind of Space Collectible ...
The Soviet Space Shuttle Buran.
Many of we space geeks like to collect space memorabilia. Our house probably has twenty different Space Shuttle models, artworks, and various knick-knacks.
When we lived in Southern California, we'd drive out to Edwards Air Force Base to visit the Flight Test Historical Foundation museum and the Dryden Flight Research Center gift shop. We have lots of Chuck Yeager stuff, and some Shuttle Enterprise memorabilia from its Approach and Landing Tests.
But I have to admit I also have a guilty pleasure, and that's collecting Buran memorabilia.
Buran was the Soviet attempt to mimic the Space Shuttle. It flew only once, on November 15, 1988. Unlike the Shuttle, Buran was unmanned. It was flown and landed by remote control. The American orbiters were always piloted, even Enterprise.
The Buran orbiter never flew again, and was destroyed in 2002 when its hangar collapsed due to poor maintenance.
If collecting Soviet or Russian space memorabilia is your thing, you might want to check out the www.ussr-airspace.com web site. It's located in Los Angeles.
Even if you're not interested in collecting, you might want to look through the site just to see all the stuff they have.
There are many places for buying U.S. space memorabilia. One place you might start is www.collectSPACE.com.
Having moved here to Space Coast last summer, I always have my eye open for the odd or different collectible. I found a "Shuttle Crossing" traffic sign in Canaveral National Seashore gift shop a couple months back.
As other nations grow their space programs, I'll be interested to see what memorabilia becomes available. Taikonaut pins, anyone?
Go to www.buran.ru for more information on Buran.
Video of the Space Shuttle Buran launch.
Video of the Buran landing and miscellaneous footage.