Photos Show Once-Beautiful Soviet Space Shuttles In Apparently Abandoned Kazakhstan Hangar

06/17/2015 04:44 pm ET | Updated Jun 24, 2015

These rockets should be in a museum.

Russian photographer Ralph Mirebs was exploring a massive space launch facility in the deserts of southern Kazakhstan when he came upon an old Soviet spacecraft (and a full-size model) in one of the facility's giant hangars, Gizmodo reports.

Mirebs snapped the stunning photos of the apparently abandoned spacecraft in the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch facility and uploaded them to the social network Live Journal on June 3. While the facility is still in use, the two vessels appear to have been gathering dust for years.

The two spaceships are reportedly products of the Soviet Union's Buran program, which ran from 1974 to 1993. In 1988, the program succeeded in sending an unmanned Buran shuttle in two orbits around the earth in under four hours. That shuttle, called the OK-1K1, was destroyed in 2002 when the roof of the Baikonur Cosmodrome hangar where it was being stored collapsed.

Following the disaster, the OK-1K1's sister space shuttle (officially called OK-1K2 but nicknamed "Little Bird") was moved to a different hangar at the launch facility, where it still sits today, according to Ars Technica.

  • Ralph Mirebs
  • Ralph Mirebs
  • Ralph Mirebs
  • Ralph Mirebs
  • Ralph Mirebs
  • Ralph Mirebs
  • Ralph Mirebs
  • Ralph Mirebs
  • Ralph Mirebs
  • Ralph Mirebs

(Hat tip, Gizmodo)

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