The space race between the United States and Soviet Union is now confined to the history books. From the 1950s through the early 1990s, the Soviet Union was seen as one of the United States leading competitors in space exploration. The Soviet Union launched the first artificial Earth satellite with Sputnik 1 in 1957, and continued to push space exploration up until the program was dissolved in 1991.
Today, remnants of the space program sit in an old hangar called Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, and will never see orbit again. Photographer Ralph Mirebs captured some amazing photos of these space shuttles that were built in the 1980s as competitors to NASA’s space shuttles, that could carry people to space on a regular basis.
Except for a lone test flight in 1988, these space shuttles never left Earth on a mission and were moved into a hangar to sit when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. The large building now serves as a sort of space shuttle tomb, functioning as a sad reminder of the once exciting and boundary-pushing space exploration program.