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In 1973 the VPK initiated the BOR (Bespilotniye Orbitalniye Raketoplan) program to investigate the hypersonic aerodynamic characteristics of lifting-body and heat shield materials for the manned Spiral lifting body spacecraft.

1:3 and 1:2 subscale models of the Spiral were built, which had, unlike the full-scale model, fixed wings and were designated BOR (unpiloted orbital rocketplane). BOR-1, BOR-2, and BOR-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.

As the BOR-4 were intended for orbital flight, they featured braking engines for deorbiting. After only one orbit 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. A total of seven BOR-4 were built. Of these one flew a suborbital mission and four performed successful orbital test flights. These flights examinated the vehicle during reentry at speeds of from Mach 3 to 25 and altitudes of 30 to 100 km.

The BOR-4 gathered useful material and environmental data for the Buran orbiter program.

Nation: USSR
Type / Application: Spacecraft technology
Contractors: Molniya
Configuration: Lifting body with folding wings
Power: Batteries
Lifetime: 1 day
Mass: 1450 kg
Orbit: 190 km × 229 km, 49.62 (#1374); 177 km × 224 km, 50.69 (#1445); 179 km × 220 km, 50.66 (#1517); 172 km × 222 km, 50.70 (#1614)
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
BOR-4 №401 N/A 05.12.1980 KY LC-107 * K65M-RB5
Kosmos 1374 (BOR-4 №404) 1982-054A 03.06.1982 KY LC-107 K65M-RB5
Kosmos 1445 (BOR-4 №403) 1983-017A 15.03.1983 KY LC-107 K65M-RB5
Kosmos 1517 (BOR-4 №406) 1983-125A 27.12.1983 KY LC-107 K65M-RB5
Kosmos 1614 (BOR-4 №407) 1984-126A 19.12.1984 KY LC-107 K65M-RB5
BOR-4 №402 - not flown KY LC-107 K65M-RB5
BOR-4 №405 - not flown KY LC-107 K65M-RB5

* = suborbital

Further BOR missions: