Procargo moves the Russian space shuttle Buran


Procargo organized the transportation of the Russian space shuttle Buran already twice, first from military airfield outside Moscow to Gothenburg, Sweden, for transshipment to Australia and the second time from Bahrain to Rotterdam, the Netherlands, for transshipment to Germany.

The first shipment was extremely challenging with the upcoming cold winter season very near. After loading and securing the components of the shuttle onto a submersible pontoon the voyage started down the Moscow River, through the Russian canal system towards St. Petersburg. Passing the lowest bridges near the Kremlin and a great number of locks and lakes and just beating the deadline for closing of locks due to winter the next leg to Gothenburg was performed by a deep-sea tugboat. From Gothenburg, the journey to Sidney continued onboard a Ro-Ro Vessel.

The second shipment from Bahrain brought Buran to Europe. Due to ownership disputes it took more than 4 years to finally move the shuttle. The 65 ton heavy and 7,6 m high and 8 m wide fuselage of the space shuttle, along with it disconnected wings and tailfin, was loaded onto a barge for transport to the waiting heavy lift ocean vessel, which loaded the complete shipment and left the port of Manama with direction Rotterdam where the transportation up river Rhine to Germany was conducted to the final destination in Speyer.

Now this unique space shuttle is to be seen in the Auto-und Technik Museum, Speyer, being the first original Russian space shuttle in the world open to the public outside its home country.

The Space Shuttle Project BURAN (translated means: Snowstorm) already started in the former Soviet Union 1976. The Shuttle MARK I conducted the first and only unmanned flight into space on 15.11.1988. Operated by remote control the shuttle landed safely back on earth, which makes it unique compared to the American space shuttles. Buran Mark II, transported to Rotterdam, conducted 25 manned testflights during 1985-1988. The manned space flights had been planned for but the Buran project got terminatd before any of these flights could commence.

The Buran-program and history can be seen on the Internet: