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Nov 28, 2011, 01:45 AM
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1:40 scale RC rocket boosted Space Shuttle/Buran orbiter

Here is a full fuse space shuttle I worked on over the holiday, in between working on my 72" tall Pershing 1A rocket.

26" ws and 35" long, approx 14oz rtf with loaded motor and 1s 500mah lipo. CG is 14" forward from the TE of the elevon at the root, and should be approx as shown on the plans if for some reason they get scaled, double check. This is with loaded motor in place and battery in place, this is the most rearward you should launch, cg moves approx 1" forward after burnout and is compensated with some up trim, I set this with the flap elevator trim on my DX-8 transmitter so I can just flip a switch to the glide setting, approx 3/16" to 1/4" of up, I also use a small amount of down trim for boost, also on the flap switch, approx 1/8" down.

This will be a simplified full fuse model designed for standalone rocket boosted rc flight.

****Reflections and Notes******

The nose will be laminated depron sanded to shape and the front will have a simplified angled flat plate design because I'm too lazy to do a multi piece compound curve and am trying to keep it simple. the rear will just be a flat plate with the payload bay going all the way to the back. If you want to create oms pods etc you can add them or add the equivalent pieces to what the Buran had. You can roll cones for nozzles from 2mm or 3mm depron and glue to the rear plate if desired. You may need to protect the lower nozzles from exhaust damage.
The wing and tail shape are close between the Buran and Shuttle and you can make minor changes to them without impacting things very much.

The only carbon is the wing spar 1/8" carbon rod, and 1/8" carbon strip to stiffen the vertical tail.

I added formers to aid in getting the payload bay shape and also added depron strips to help locate the fuse sides in place.

I made the cockpit using four pieces of 3mm depron, two sides, a wraparound, and a cap. It looks much better.

I did the markings using trim monokote and only needed to paint the bottom flat black, and use a flat overspray over the monokote.

On the plans I left out the cockpit details and leave it up to the user to implement. You could just carve a block to shape and insert it into the fuse cutout for the cockpit.

I also wanted to keep the wing flat bottom, so the nose shape doesn't round up as much as scale, again, if you want to hack off the nose and carve a block to the correct shape, that would work as well.

In addition, I wanted to keep the motor thrust line right along the wing, so the motor is mounted low. I left off the mud flap to avoid getting burnt by the motor exhaust.

On the plus side it did give me a chance to play around with forming depron around curved formers so I learned a bit about that.

I've done one version as a shuttle with added OMS pods and nozzles, and another version with the stock simplified rear with Buran markings. Both fly the same.

I've flown these on the 24mm E-6RC aerotech reloadable motor which gives a nice easy 7-8 second burn, the model is draggy and won't go terribly high, maybe 300' with a 30 second glide, it's a shuttle! I've also flown the Buran on E-12RC blackjack motors which burn much faster but don't really get the model any higher due to drag. I've also flown the Buran on E-15P motors which give it a good fast kick, but again, the altitude and glide time are about the same. You need to have a good boost trim setting before you try the faster burning motors. I have not tried any of the Estes E-12 motors since you have to manually plug them with epoxy which is a NAR rule no-no, to prevent ejection, and I've seen too many of the Estes motors fail to risk using them in an RC model.

Plans at: go to the plans pulldown and select the shuttle link

Youtube videos posted at:

Space Shuttle Buran RC Rocket glider flights on E-12 24mm motors (3 min 6 sec)

RC Russian Buran Space Shuttle rocket glider flights on E-12 and E-15 motors (5 min 18 sec)

RC Space Shuttle Buran Rocket Glider (2 min 14 sec)

Scratch built Depron Space Shuttle, radio controlled rocket boosted glider (1 min 24 sec)

Last edited by burkefj; Nov 17, 2017 at 05:13 PM.
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Dec 02, 2011, 11:26 PM
3 Strykers,your out !
junglegym's Avatar
Really nice job
Dec 03, 2011, 10:32 AM
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airbagit13's Avatar
Yeah, looks great!
Dec 04, 2011, 06:08 PM
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Dec 06, 2011, 10:52 PM
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Hepdog's Avatar
Nicely done.

What I find really interesting is your build method is almost identical to what I did 6 years ago - I guess it's either great minds think alike or there's only so many ways to skin a cat.

How did you find the CofG change when the motor burns out? Did it make a difference?
Dec 07, 2011, 02:31 AM
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Hi, that is funny, I didn't even look at your construction technique ahead of time....

My boost CG is a bit forward of the curve where the wings change angle, and the burnout cg is ahead of that, other than a good amount of uptrim for glide, it doesn't seem adversely affected. I might be able to move it back, but it works and I don't want to kill it.
Last edited by burkefj; Jul 25, 2017 at 05:38 PM.
Apr 18, 2012, 06:59 AM
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Jul 25, 2017, 05:38 PM
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Added some flight videos of the Buran shuttle version
Last edited by burkefj; Aug 03, 2017 at 06:52 PM.
Jul 25, 2017, 05:40 PM
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Cleaned up the posting and added a link to where the plans are now posted.
Last edited by burkefj; Aug 03, 2017 at 06:53 PM.

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