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Cosmos 1517



Cosmos 1517 was a Soviet subscale spiral spaceplane launched from Kapustin Yar. In a new mission profile, it braked out of orbit over the South Atlantic and was recovered in the Black Sea after one orbit of the Earth.

This spacecraft was used to investigate the hypersonic aerodynamic characteristics and heat shield materials of the manned Spiral OS lifting body, 1:3 and 1:2 scale models of the OS were to be built. Unlike the full-scale model, these were had fixed wings and were designated BOR (unpiloted orbital rocketplane). BOR-1, -2, and -3 were increasingly sophisticated models of the configuration, flown on suborbital trajectories. After the cancellation of Spiral in favour of the Buran, BOR-4 subscale spaceplanes were used to test heat shield materials developed for Buran. Certain essential tests of these heat shield materials could not be done in the lab. These included interaction with the plasma sheath during re-entry, chemical disassociation effects, etc. The BOR-4 was clad in 118 tiles of the type developed for Buran as well as carbon-carbon nose cap and leading edge. These BOR-4 unmanned orbiters were equipped with braking engines. After a circuit of the earth, the spacecraft would deorbit, perform a gliding re-entry, followed by parachute deployment, splashdown in the ocean, and recovery by Soviet naval forces. BOR-4 flew four successful test flights at speeds of from Mach 3 to 25 and altitudes of 30 to 100 km. These test flights confirmed the physical, chemical, and catalytic processes that operated on the selected heat shield materials in the re-entry plasma. BOR-4 also provided important data on the acoustic environment during launch and re-entry. Compared to the Spiral MiG 105-11 EPOS configuration, the BOR-4 had a flattened, wider body with a much smaller vertical stabilizer.

Alternate Names

  • 14585
  • Cosmos1517

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1983-12-27
Launch Vehicle: Cosmos
Launch Site: Kapustin Yar, U.S.S.R
Mass: 1000 kg

Funding Agency

  • Unknown (U.S.S.R)


  • Engineering

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office

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