Known as the OK-GLI (Buran Analog BST-02), this vehicle was the Soviet version of Shuttle Enterprise, tasked with in-flight testing... The test program with OK-GLI involved a huge amount of testing in the air, ranging from November, 1984 – all the way through to April, 1988.
OK-GLI’s history was not lost – unlike a lot of the Buran program – after she was salvaged and shipped to her retirement home at the Technikmuseum Speyer in Germany.
Ironically, she was originally sold to an Australian company for display at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. After that company went bankrupt the model was later found rusting in a middle eastern desert.
A group of German tourists found her and fought many legal battles to gain custody of the vehicle to send her to Germany.
In 2000, Analog Buran was sold to an Australian company called the Buran Space Corporation, owned by Australian astronaut Paul Scully-Power. It was disassembled and transported by ship to Sydney, Australia, via Gothenburg, Sweden — arriving on 9 February 2000 and appeared as a static tourist attraction under a large temporary structure in Darling Harbour for a few years.
Upon reassembly, OK-GLI was put on display in a temporary enclosure for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. Visitors could walk around and inside the vehicle (a walkway was built along the cargo bay), and plans were in place for a tour of various cities in Australia and Asia. The owners went into bankruptcy after the Olympics, and the vehicle was moved into the open air and stored for a year, in a fenced-in parking lot and protected by nothing more than a large tarp, where it suffered deterioration and repeated vandalism.
The OK-GLI test vehicle was then offered for sale, including by a radio auction on Los Angeles' News 980 KFWB-AM with a starting price of US$6 million, however it did not receive any genuine bids.
In September 2004 a team of German journalists found the OK-GLI test vehicle in Bahrain, having been abandoned after it was on display as an attraction of the 2002 "Bahrain Summer" festival.
It was then bought by the Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum, to be transported to Germany in 2005. Due to legal issues, it remained in Bahrain for several years, pending settlement of an international court settlement over fees.
Technik Museum Speyer, Germany
OK-GLI on the Rhine
OK-GLI at Technik Museum Speyer
On 4 March 2008 OK-GLI began its journey by sea to the Technik Museum Speyer where it was refurbished and serves as walk-in exhibit.