Most people have forgotten about Russia’s short-lived space shuttle program in the 1980s. In fact, Russia itself has left the haunting remains to rest, unused and dusty in humongous empty hangars near the Baikonur Cosmodrome territory in Kazakhstan.
There were several shuttles built—one of which successfully performed in an unmanned test—but the program was quickly shut down due to budget cuts.
One of the shuttles was destroyed in a building collapse, but at least two are still intact and untouched for decades.
Photographer Ralph Mirebs traveled to Kazakhstan, and stepped inside the hangars to reveal the long-forgotten piece of space history to the world once more.
The shuttles are strikingly similar to NASA’s own space shuttles, except these have never had the opportunity to travel into orbit.
The hangar is reportedly 433-feet long by 203-feet high, and featured sliding gates that were meant to accommodate the shuttles on their way to the Launchpad.
Mirebs wrote about his exploration on his website:
“Time and people did not spare the ships and their current state is very pitiable. Part of the thermal protection tiles fell off, cabin windows are broken and there is a generous layer of bird droppings accumulated over more than twenty years.”
You can see more photos on Mireb’s site here.