Encyclopedia Astronautica
Uragan Space Interceptor



uraganb4.gif
Uragan / BOR-4
Credit: © Mark Wade
Russian manned combat spacecraft. 2 launches, 1987.08.01 (Cosmos 1871) to 1987.08.28 (Cosmos 1873). Russian sources continue to maintain that the Uragan manned spaceplane project never existed.

However Western intelligence was very convinced in the climactic phase of the Cold War. The tale told at that time was that completion of test of the 4,220 kg MiG 105-11 manned subsonic test bed did not mark the end of the Spiral spaceplane project but rather a rebirth. It was reported that development of a larger manned 'space interceptor' was authorized in September 1978. This spaceplane, supposedly called 'Uragan', was to be launched atop the new Zenit launch vehicle.

The BOR-4 unmanned subscale orbital test craft verified the configuration in four hypersonic re-entry tests between 1982 and 1984 (however expert Russian space historians maintain that these were merely tests of heat shield materials for the Buran shuttle using available Spiral project subscale models). A first group of six Air Force pilot cosmonauts were selected to work on the program from the outset. A second group of at least three cosmonauts was selected in 1985, seeming to indicate that flights would begin in the next few years. The U. S. Department of Defense issued drawings of the spaceplane atop the Zenit launcher and artist concepts of it operating in orbit in 1986. The DoD claimed that the interceptor was to be armed with space-to-space missiles, evidently in response to US military shuttle missions. Uragan was said to have been cancelled in September 1987 for unknown reasons before the first flight of the Buran shuttle. Possibly the cancellation of US Shuttle polar orbit military missions from Vandenberg after the Challenger explosion eliminated the space interceptor's mission. Or perhaps it never existed and was merely the subject of a very successful disinformation campaign. Adding even more confusion is that it is now known that at least two spaceplanes - Chelomei's LKS, for launch on Proton, and Molniya's OK-M, for launch on Zenit, were being designed concurrently with Buran. And the official history of the MiG OKB, states cryptically that after completion of the 105-11 flight tests development of the spaceplane continued....

Gross mass: 13,000 kg (28,000 lb).
Height: 12.50 m (41.00 ft).
First Launch: 1987.08.01.
Last Launch: 1987.08.28.
Number: 2 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Russian Rocketplanes The story of rocketplanes and spaceplanes in the Soviet Union was one of constant setbacks due to internal politics, constant struggle with little result. More...
  • Zenit Zenit was to be a modular new generation medium Soviet launch vehicle, replacing the various ICBM-derived launch vehicles in use since the 1960's (Tsiklon and Soyuz). A version of the first stage was used as strap-ons for the cancelled Energia heavy booster. But it was built by Yuzhnoye in the Ukraine; when the Soviet Union broke up planned large-scale production for the Soviet military was abandoned (Angara development was begun as an indigenous alternative). Launch pads were completed only at Baikonur; those at Plesetsk were never finished and are planned to be completed as Angara pads. However the vehicle found new life as a commercial launch vehicle, launched from a sea platform by an American/Ukrainian consortium. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Zenit-2 Ukrainian orbital launch vehicle. Two-stage version that continued to be used for launch of Russian military satellites tailored to it after the fall of the Soviet Union. More...
  • Zenit Zenit was to be a modular new generation medium Soviet launch vehicle, replacing the various ICBM-derived launch vehicles in use since the 1960's (Tsiklon and Soyuz). A version of the first stage was used as strap-ons for the cancelled Energia heavy booster. But it was built by Yuzhnoye in the Ukraine; when the Soviet Union broke up planned large-scale production for the Soviet military was abandoned (Angara development was begun as an indigenous alternative). Launch pads were completed only at Baikonur; those at Plesetsk were never finished and are planned to be completed as Angara pads. However the vehicle found new life as a commercial launch vehicle, launched from a sea platform by an American/Ukrainian consortium. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Molniya Russian manufacturer of rockets and spacecraft. Molniya Design Bureau, Russia. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Matthews, Henry, The Secret Story of the Soviet Space Shuttle, X-Planes Book 1, Beirut, Lebanon, 1994.
  • Pesavento, Peter, "Russian Space Shuttle Projects 1957-1994", Spaceflight, 1995, Volume 37, page 226.
  • Gatland, Kenneth W, "A Soviet Space Shuttle?", Spaceflight, 1978, Volume 20, page 322.
  • Borrowman, G L, "Kosmoljot - Soviet Wings into Space", Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, 1982, Volume 35, page 75.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Baikonur Russia's largest cosmodrome, the only one used for manned launches and with facilities for the larger Proton, N1, and Energia launch vehicles. The spaceport ended up on foreign soil after the break-up of Soviet Union. The official designations NIIP-5 and GIK-5 are used in official Soviet histories. It was also universally referred to as Tyuratam by both Soviet military staff and engineers, and the US intelligence agencies. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the Russian Federation has insisted on continued use of the old Soviet 'public' name of Baikonur. In its Kazakh (Kazak) version this is rendered Baykonur. More...

Uragan Space Interceptor Chronology


1978 September - .
  • Uragan space interceptor allegedly authorised - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: Uragan Space Interceptor. Russian sources continue to maintain that the Uragan manned spaceplane project never existed. However Western intelligence reported that development of a larger manned 'space interceptor' was authorised in September 1978. This spaceplane, supposedly called 'Uragan', was to be launched atop the new Zenit launch vehicle.

1978 September 30 - .
  • Uragan space interceptor project begun - . Nation: USSR. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: Uragan Space Interceptor. In order to counter US space shuttle flights made in polar orbits from Vandenberg, deep black Uragan project begun. Scaled-up Spiral to be launched by new Zenit launch vehicle, carrying Nudelmann recoilless gun (same as developed for TKS) for destruction of shuttle after interception and inspection. First flight planned 1983.

1987 August 1 - . 03:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC45/1. LV Family: Zenit. Launch Vehicle: Zenit-2.
  • Cosmos 1871 - . Payload: Uragan boilerplate or Orlets-2 Mass Model. Mass: 15,000 kg (33,000 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MO. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: Uragan Space Interceptor. Duration: 9.00 days. Decay Date: 1987-08-10 . USAF Sat Cat: 18259 . COSPAR: 1987-065A. Apogee: 188 km (116 mi). Perigee: 168 km (104 mi). Inclination: 97.0000 deg. Period: 88.10 min. Summary: Considered by some observors as possible spite test of Uragan space interceptor boilerplate mass model, just prior to project cancellation.
    Officially: Investigation of the upper atmosphere and outer space..

1987 August 28 - . 08:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC45/1. LV Family: Zenit. Launch Vehicle: Zenit-2.
  • Cosmos 1873 - . Payload: Uragan boilerplate or Orlets-2 Mass Model. Mass: 15,000 kg (33,000 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MO. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: Uragan Space Interceptor. Duration: 16.00 days. Decay Date: 1987-09-14 . USAF Sat Cat: 18318 . COSPAR: 1987-071A. Apogee: 241 km (149 mi). Perigee: 175 km (108 mi). Inclination: 64.8000 deg. Period: 88.70 min. Summary: Considered by some observors as possible spite test of Uragan space interceptor boilerplate mass model, just prior to project cancellation.
    Officially: Investigation of the upper atmosphere and outer space..

1987 September - . LV Family: Zenit. Launch Vehicle: Zenit-2.
  • Uragan spaceplane allegedly cancelled - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: Uragan Space Interceptor. Uragan was said to have been cancelled before the first flight of the Buran shuttle. Possibly the cancellation of US Shuttle polar orbit military missions from Vandenberg after the Challenger explosion eliminated the space interceptor's mission. Or perhaps it never existed and was merely the subject of a very successful disinformation campaign. Adding even more confusion is that it is now known that at least two spaceplanes - Chelomei's LKS, for launch on Proton, and Molniya's OK-M, for launch on Zenit, were being designed concurrently with Buran. And the official history of the MiG OKB, states cryptically that after completion of the 105-11 flight tests development of the spaceplane continued....

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