The An-225 Mriya (NATO reporting name: Cossack) made the first flight in December 1988 taking off the aerodrome in Svyatoshyn. The airplane was flown by a team headed by Oleksandr Galunenko. The model was developed "for transportation of the Buran shuttle orbiter and components of the Energiya carrier rocket".

The aircraft can be used as a flying space launching site with the airplane making the first stage and a space shuttle with a fuel tank being responsible for the 2nd stage.

The An-225 Mriya is capable of delivering extra-heavy oversize cargo to anywhere in the world. Only one airplane was built. The main parts were assembled at Antonov Kyiv Mechanical Works facility in Kyiv, while smaller units were made at Valerii Chkalov Tashkent Production Association in Tashkent. These parts were transported on the An-22 Antaeus. Here are 15 interesting things about Antonov an-225 Mriya you don’t want to miss.

15 It Lifts Incredible Loads

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The strategic lifter registered as the UR-82060 has grown famous for lifting heavy loads and delivering them worldwide. The Antonov an-225 Mriya holds many world records, such as the delivery of the heaviest cargo item ever, a generator weighing 417,000 pounds. Its maximum cargo lift has been 550,000 pounds.

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14 A Larger Version Of The An-124

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The An-225 is a larger version of the An-124, it features many of its units and systems, including avionics and engines. However, the Mriya got 6 engines instead of 4. It's worth noting that the An-124 is the largest production transport military aircraft in the world. They both were developed for the Soviet space program.

13 The Largest Strategic Cargo Transport In The World

Worlds biggest plane
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The Antonov An-225 Mriya is longer than the Boeing 747 and the Airbus A380, which makes it the largest strategic cargo transport in the world. Only one unit has seen completion even though 2 were initially ordered. Even though the Mriya is an engineering marvel, it's got its fair share of critics concerning long-term costs.

12 84 Meters Long

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Mriya means "dream" in Ukrainian, and this aircraft creates a fuss everywhere it goes. With 85 m length and 88 m wingspan, it weights 175 tones without fuel and cargo. The An-225 is the longest-winged, the longest-bodied operational plane in the world. It has enough cargo space to hold 50 cars.

11 It Makes Deliveries Once A Year

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To carry heavy weight Mriya has 32 wheels that spread across its landing gear. Its nose opens for cargo loading through the front end. However, it's rare to see the aircraft in action. It makes deliveries once a year. For example, it was loaded with a 130-ton generator in Prague and delivered it to Australia.

10 It First Flew In 1988

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The Antonov An-225 Mriya first flew in 1988 with a 74-minute flight from Kiev. It was on display at the Paris Air Show in 1989 and then flew to the Farnborough air show. As a replacement for the Myasishchev VM-T, the An-225 was designed to airlift the Energia rocket's boosters.

9 It Combines Vintage Design With Modern Technologies

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With its slouching wings (each with 6 huge turbofan engines) and a twin-tail assembly, the An-225 is a combination of vintage design and modern technologies. It's equipped with triple-redundant hydraulics and a fly-by-wire control system. Unlike many aircraft, it doesn't have a rear cargo access. The cargo loading is done through the nose.

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8 It Lost Its Role

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In 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Buran space program was taken over by Russia and then closed due to financial problems. The aircraft was passed on to Ukraine but it lost its only role. In 1994, the sole operational aircraft was placed into storage. Until the late 90s, it was neglected.

7 51,600 Lbs Of Thrust Per Engine

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Each of 6 ZMKB Progress D-18 series engines is rated at 51,600lbs of thrust. Like other heavy-lift aircraft, the Mriya received a high-mounted flight deck that sits above the short nose cone. Wide-spanning swept-back wings are high-mounted in the fuselage sides. The wings were manufactured with a high degree of flexibility.

6 Over 200 World Records

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The aircraft has set over 200 world records, including lifting the world’s longest cargo and the heaviest cargo. One of them was set in 2004 when it flew a 247-ton pipeline to Uzbekistan. The aircraft was taken out of service in 1994 and brought back in 2001. Since then, it's delivered aid to disaster scenes.

5 There Is A 2nd An-225

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The 2nd An-225 was half-finished during the late 80s for the Soviet space program. In 2000, the Ukrainian government realized the need for additional An-225 capacity, so they decided to complete the 2nd aircraft. By 2009, the project had been abandoned. In 2011, the Antonov CEO said it'd take $300 million to finish the aircraft.

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4 There Is No Public Schedule

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Tracking the aircraft is a sport because there is no public schedule. It has been found in far-flung places like South America, West Africa, and the Australian Outback. The lucky few have seen it in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. It has occasionally come to the US, as well.

3 It Has Delivered Ready Meals

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The first flight of refurbished aircraft was with military cargo. In 2002, the aircraft flew from Germany to Oman with 216,000 ready meals for American soldiers. These meals weighed 188 tones and were transported on 375 pallets. The An-255 has been contracted by different governments to lift military supplies to the Middle East.

2 Russia And China Want To Get The Aircraft

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Airspace Industry Corporation of China's president, Zhang You-Sheng, told BBC that they had "the first contemplated cooperation with Antonov in 2009. AICC intends to modernize the second unfinished An-225 and develop it into an air launch to orbit platform." The Russian government has announced plans to use the An-225 as a launchpad.

1 It Needs 7 People To Operate

cnn.com

It takes 7 people – including 2 pilots, a loadmaster and technicians – to operate the An-225. It was optimized for external loads. Cargo doors were removed to save weight. The 2nd airframe that is incomplete had some design changes. It was supposed to be the most effective way of cargo transportation.

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