When I was a kid I was fascinated by space. I used to build Lego cosmodromes that sent little plastic men on imaginary journeys across the galaxy.
But at the same time these guys were doing it for real. This is Buran, the space plane that represented the pride and hopes of the Soviet people during the cold war and its Energeia launch rocket.
Buran flew one autonomous unmanned mission in space and landed successfully at its own purpose-built airport.
By the time the Soviet Union collapsed, so had the Buran space project. Everything is now abandoned in rundown hangers in the closed Russian town of Baikonur in the Kazakhstan desert.
Seeing Buran was the main reason for my recent visit to Kazakhstan. It wasn’t particularly easy and certainly caused a few problems, but it was absolutely worth it.