Did you know the Soviet Union had its own space shuttle? That's a picture of it to the right. It was called Buran, which means snowstorm in Russian.
The Soviets built Buran at great expense to compete with the U.S. space shuttle. Buran flew exactly once in 1988, before being permanently mothballed in the final days of the Soviet Union. The expense of the program was simply unsustainable for the cash-strapped Soviet government. Buran was in many ways technologically superior to the U.S. shuttle on which it was modeled. For instance, it was completely automated. Although it was designed to carry a crew, its maiden flight was unmanned.
Like so much of the Soviet era space hardware and facilities, Buran quickly fell into disrepair. Two were built, but one was destroyed a few years ago by the collapse of the hanger in which it was kept. Now the sole surviving model has been sold to a German museum, where it will go on permanent display. On this last trip to its final home, Buran rode on a barge this week down the Rhine river: