Those Crazy Russians

I’m fascinated by how two groups of people will find completely different solutions to the same problem. This is a photo of Buran, the Soviet version of the U.S. Space Shuttle. (During the Cold War, if one side had X, the other side had to have X too even if they didn’t exactly know why.)

Where the Americans solved the problem of massive hardware transport from assembly facility to launch pad by assembling the vehicle in its vertical launch position and gingerly and ever-so-cautiously wheeling it to the pad, the Russians have always taken a different approach: assembling everything in a horizontal orientation, wheeling it to the launch pad on train tracks, then using gargantuan hydraulic lifts to crank several million pounds of hardware vertical. I mean, look at that thing! Imagine the force required to torque that beast into a standing position. 

Only the Russians.

This is a color-corrected version of a photo originally posted by astrohardware.