All nerds worth their salt know about the Buran. It was the Russian Space Shuttle, that looked like a straight knock-off of the US original a la Concordski, but which actually had considerable improvements over the American horse-designed-by-a-committee.
(In this regard Buran was, arguably, also like Concordski, despite that aircraft’s distressing tendency to fall out of the sky.)
Buran wasn’t completely liberated from the stupidity of the Shuttle’s design. It still sat dangerously on the back of its giant fuel tank rather than in the obviously-more-sensible on-the-nose-of-the-tank position, despite the fact that it didn’t have the rear engines that force the Shuttle to be where it is, getting smacked by foam and blown to bits by booster failures.
But the Buran was still better. The Soviet Shuttle program didn’t get off the ground, but the hardware was just fine.
Anyway, six years ago I was working at the end of Darling Harbour (I didn’t stay there a lot longer…), and was reviewing the then-remarkable, now-pointless Sony Mavica MVC-CD1000 digital camera (it used 77mm CDs for image storage, which was a good idea when a megabyte of memory card cost five bucks, but is ridiculous now that the price is three cents).
And someone came along and parked the OK-GLI Buran aerodynamic test vehicle next to my office.
So I took a picture of it with the Sony…
…and here that picture is.
Click for the full sized version, complete with antique EXIF headers.
After this, that poor old bird got dragged all over the place, and has I think been stuck in Bahrain for some time now. OK-GLI is, however, apparently eventually going to take one last boring sea-and-land trip to a German museum, where it can rest in peace with a Concorde, a Concordski, an enormous Cock, and lots of other neat stuff.