My favourite aeroplane in 200 words #43: Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-105

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Sofia Kovalenok from the Monino AF Museum volunteer restoration team, and her responsibility the 105.11. She has been found and restored missing cockpit equipment, and applied the orginal markings to the spaceplane scheme with all the stencils (105.11 was repainted in silver while though originally it was white and black).

In 1965 the Soviet Union started a top secret project lead by the engineer Gleb Lozino-Lozinskiy. Known as ‘Spiral’, its aim was to build a spaceplane that could have been used for a variety of purposes including aerial reconnaissance, space rescue, satellite maintenance, and as a space interceptor to sabotage enemy satellites. Yes, I did say ‘space interceptor’, but let’s add another element of excitement: it was to be launched from the back of a Mach 6 mothership (to be built by Tupolev). Once thrown into the air by the mothership, its own detachable rocket would boost it into space. The  MiG-105 was built as a research aircraft in support of the Spiral, to demonstrate landings (made on skids) and low speed handling. It made its first subsonic free-flight in 1976, taking off under its own power from an old airstrip near Moscow. It made only eight flights before the project was cancelled in favour of the Buran, a knock-off of the US Shuttle. Though the MiG-105 never made it into space, its sister, the unmanned БОР (‘BOR’) did. Now exhibited at the Monino museum, The MiG-105 is (like me) a Muscovite — which is clearly another reason to love this little flying shoe.

— Ria Timkin, Musician (you can support her music here. She currently has no songs about spaceplanes)

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2 comments

  1. elleetoo

    Ah, the romance of the low-speed proof-of-concept test article! Did you know that every time someone says something superlative about the Lightning, the Short SB5 sheds a quiet tear — often sharing a quiet sympathy text with the M2-F1, and the Avro 707s. I hope that the Mig 105 is in their Whatsapp group.

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