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Research & Industrial Corporation

NPO Molniya, 6 Novoposelkovaya Street, Moscow 123459, Russia
Tel: +7 095 497 5930; Fax:+ 7 095 497 4723
E-mail address:

Spiral Project

SPIRAL is the project opening the history of aerospace systems creation. The work at the project began in A. Mikoyan Bureau 4 years after Gagarin's space flight.
The SPIRAL reusable aerospace system (AKS) consisted of an orbital manned aircraft with a rocket booster and supersonic aircraft-carrier The start of the orbital stage should occur at the altitude of 24-30 km at the speed of six times higher than sound speed. After flight completion a gliding AKS SPIRAL model
descent in atmosphere with the airplane landing at an airfield was provided. For more precise landing approach a turbojet engine could be used. With the whole system take-off weight of 115 tons a one-seat orbital aircraft had weight of 10 tons and was intended for scientific and technical experiments in space, remote Earth monitoring and space objects inspection. It was a vehicle with a load-bearing frame and wings tilting up ward to exclude the direct effect of thermal flow in conditions of plasma formation as well as for roll control.
Prototype of AKS SPIRAL orbital Vehicle The development of the hypersonic aircraft-carrier that had no analogues in the world required a considerable time and consequently during the tests and at the first phase of operation the orbital vehicle was supposed to be launched into space by a ballistic rocket. For landing approach and landing working up as well as for stability,
controllability and aerodynamic characteristics estimation the manned sub-sonic analogue of the orbital vehicle - aircraft 105" - was build. In 1977 and 1978 it made 6 test flights with gliding on runway after being dropped from the Tu-95 bomber at the altitude of 5500 m.

Despite of NPO MOLNIYA suggestion to use the SPIRAL orbital vehicle scheme for ENERGIYA-BURAN system the leading system developer ENERGIYA insisted on the use of the configuration close to the USA Space Shuttle. Nevertheless, the experience of working at the SPIRAL system has considerably facilitated and speed up the BURAN orbiter creation and the technical ideas incorporated on the basis of the SPIRAL project have afterwards received their progress in a new aerospace system.

| Introduction | Bor Experimental Space Vehicles | | Buran Orbiter |
| Multipurpose Aerospace System (MAKS) | Molniya Triplane Aircraft |
| Supersonic Rockets-Targets | | Company Details |E-mail|