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Experimental Piloted Orbital Plane (EPOS)

The Molniya Scientific Production Association and the Zhukovskiy Central Aerohydro-dynamics Research Institute conducted a variety of programs focused on developing reusable winged spacecraft under the Spiral, EPOS, and BOR programs. MiG was to build the Spiral craft, which measured 8 meters long, 7.4 meters wide, 3.5 meters high and eventually weighed 10,300 kg. Different booster configurations were considered including a Soyuz booster.

Thus, from 1959 to 1965, projects for cruise missiles and rocket planes, such as the Burya and Buran in the USSR and Navaho and Dyna-Soar in the U.S., were cancelled absolutely independently by the respective defense ministers. The Spiral project of A. I. Mikoyan’s OKB was the last to be cancelled. German Titov was being trained for flights on this rocket plane. The project did not have the Rocket Forces’ support and ended during the phase when an analog rocket plane was being test-dropped from a Tu-95 aircraft. Cosmonaut Titov ultimately left the Air Force and transferred to the Main Directorate of Space Assets (GUKOS Glavnoye upravleniye kosmicheskikh sredstv, the Soviet “military space forces” between 1970 and 1986), which was subordinate to the commander-in-chief of the Strategic Rocket Forces (RVSN).

Article 105 (1965-1971 yr.) - the analog of the aerospace vehicle of the system "spiral", which consists of the booster aircraft with the maximum speed of flight, which corresponds to the second step in the form of aerospace vehicle with rocket booster .

In 1965 the association of the plant was connected to the execution of space programs. The country's first reusable two-step aerospace system "spiral", developed in OKB of A.I.Mikoyan under the management of chief designer Gleb Yevgen'evich Llozino-Lozinskogo, was powerful supersonic booster aircraft and starting from his "back" at the height of 20-30 km with the aid of the rocket booster orbital ship- boost-glide vehicle. After the completion of works in orbit the boost-glide vehicle had to return to the earth, planning in the atmosphere, and to land to the unpaved airfield. This most interesting development so remained to the end of that not completed.

In the plan of the solution of the first stages of program "spiral" to plant was charged the production of the analogs of orbital glider. Analog for the flight investigation at subsonic speed obtained code designation Y0SHCH..II. It was the wide-body apparatus, designed according to diagram "lifting body - bobtailed aircraft" with the pivoting wings to 45(from the vertical plane. The takeoff weight of aircraft - about 10 tons, length was 8 meters, wingspan - 7,4 meters. The lower part of the fuselage was made from the niobium alloy. Wing leading edge, ailerons and keel - from the titanium alloy OTYA-Y, the wings made of steel VNS-2, cab - made of steels VNS-2 and VNS-YA, upper fuselage section - from the aluminum alloy D -19.

The branch of OKB A.I.Mikoyan, whom Peter Abramovich Schuster headed was created. Yu. d. Blokhin was appointed the chief of the branch OF OKB, and by his deputy was D.A.Reshetnikova. Chief designer was G.Ye.Lozino-Lozinskiy. For operational resolution of technological-design questions concerning article 105 was formed the all-round team, into composition of which they entered: A. I. Pushkin, A. A. shuvikov, N. i. koshkin, Yu. isakov, In. V. skrylev, P. v. Hares, A. n. belyakov. Article 105, the analog of the aerospace vehicle of system "spiral".

With the control of technical documentation on the article 105 the rough economic and temporary errors of project originators were revealed, from the point of view of all-round team. There were disputes both on reduction in the labor expense of article and on an increase in its technological effectiveness. And in the majority of the cases chief designers would support the proposals of the specialists.

For fulfilling of this requirement was prepared original adaptation for the assembling, the welding and the control of three-dimensional it was main farm (authors A.Pushkin, Yu.Isakov, V.Skrylev). For this purpose take root the installation for the automatic welding it is joint pipes directly at the farm in any attitude of joint. In addition to this, for guaranteeing the manual argon-arc welding of the elements of cab and farm was prepared original rotary assembly jig of entire fuselage of article (according to the type of stock for the aircraft MIG-25).

The association of the branch OKB and plant worked with enthusiasm at this most interesting theme, but in 1971, in connection with the beginning of the development of system "Energia-Buran", it was stopped. But nevertheless at the plant they were prepared: the complete set of the component parts of the glider (head part of the fuselage, the outer plane of wing with the ailerons, keel with the rudder, the fold of air duct, speed brakes) for the heat tests, the glider of analog for the static tests and flying copy. During the tests in the gliding condition it showed good lift-drag ratios and reliability of all its systems.

It was planned to develop a 6.8-t single-seated Experimental Piloted Orbital Plane (Russian acronym - EPOS) to work through the full-scale structure and carry out fly tests of avionics. Work began in 1967 to build the EPOS test vehicles. The 105.11 prototype, which is on display at the Air Force museum in Monino, was used for sub-sonic atmospheric tests. It was equipped with a RD-36K jet engine for take-off and landing tests, and was air-dropped from a Tu-95K bomber.

The development of the preliminary design of the Spiral system began in 1965, the following year they began to develop a draft design. Simultaneously, in 1966 it was decided to build an analog EPOS - izd.105-11 (with turbojet engine, but without LRE and gas dynamic control) for atmospheric tests of the device at subsonic speeds when discharging it from the appropriately refitted Tu-95KM airplane. To build an analogue began in 1968, in parallel at the aviation plant in Kuibyshev (Samara), began re-equipment of the dedicated air force bomber Tu-95KM No. 2667 in an experimental carrier aircraft. Later, it was planned to connect two other EPOS analogues, now with the LPRE, to the tests, - 105 and 12-13, which could make a flight with supersonic and hypersonic speeds, respectively.

General management of the theme was carried out by GE Lozino-Lozinsky . In 1970, all work on the construction of EPOS analogs was transferred from MMZ "Zenit" to the Dubna machine-building plant "Rainbow". For work on the topic from the branch in Dubna, a group of 150 people was assembled, and OKB-155-1 was assigned to an independent organization, now known as the ICB "Rainbow". Here, assembly 105-10-11 No. 1-01 was completed, and in 1971 the production of analog 105-12, as well as five products of the experimental 0-th lot (No. 001-005) began. The first of them was intended for static testing, the second for testing rescue equipment, the third and fourth for LPRE and gas dynamic control, and the fifth for heat resistance tests. Article No. 002 was manufactured in 1971, No. 005 in 1973, No. 001 and 003 in 1974.

October 27, 1977. the carrier Tu-95KM, manned by the crew led by the deputy chief of the flight test service, Lieutenant Colonel A.Obelov, for the first time dropped an analog of 105.11, piloted by A.F., from a height of 5000 m to the landing of the landing glide path of the aerodrome. The balancing flap was pre-mounted on a dive and a birdie, as the device designers and testers affectionately called, friskily dived down at a speed of 50-70 m / sec, the aerodynamic quality of the analogue was less than 5. Then, in 1977-78, another 9 flights, 4 of which the flying airdrome was commanded by the commander of the test squadron Colonel AP Kucherenko . One flight after the air start on the analogue was also performed by the deserved test pilot of the USSR, Hero of the Soviet Union PM Ostapenko . Then, for the second stage of the tests, the wheel chassis was replaced with a ski chassis.

In 1978, the subsonic flight tests of the edition 105-11 for the determination of the LTX at the end of the carrier aircraft were completed. The end of flight experiments on the analogue 105.11 coincidentally coincided with its failure at landing in September 1978.

After the stoppage of theme the analog of the aircraft was placed in the museum of aviation at Monino. NPO "Molniya" continued the development of two-step system on the base of the aircraft Of "Mriya" for the schematic of system "spiral", considering that a similar system possesses the best tactical-technical characteristics and is considerably more economical than the system Buran ["snow-storm"] and "shuttle".

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