5 June 1989: The Antonov An-225 Мрия (Mriya—Dream in the Ukranian language) took off from Kiev with the space shuttle Buran, enroute to the Paris Air Show. The total weight at takeoff was a 1,234,600 pounds (560,005 kilograms)—the greatest weight ever lifted by an aircraft.
The An-225 was derived from the earlier four-engine An-124. It is operated by a flight crew of 6–7. The airplane is 84.00 meters (275.59 feet) long, with a wingspan of 88.40 meters (290.03 feet) and height of 18.10 meters (59.38 feet). The total wing area is 905.0 square meters (9,741.3 square feet).
Mriya weighs approximately 250,000 kilograms (551,156 pounds), empty, and its maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) is 600,000 kilograms (1,322,774 pounds). The maximum payload is 250,000 kilograms (551,156 pounds pounds).
The cargo hold of the An-225 is 43.35 meters (142.22 feet) long, 6.40 meters (21.00 feet) wide and 4.40 meters (14.44 feet) high. The usable volume is 1,300 cubic meters (45,909 cubic feet).
The An-225 is powered by six Ivchenko Progress (Lotarev) D-18T turbofan engines producing 229.848 kilonewtons (51,672 pounds of thrust), each. The D-18T is a three-spool axial-flow high-bypass turbofan engine. The 15-stage compressor has a single-stage fan, 7 intermediate-pressure-, and 7 high-pressure stages). The 6-stage turbine consists of 1 high- and 1 intermediate-pressure stages, and 4-stage fan turbine. The engines are 5.400 meters (17.717 feet) long, 2.937 meters (9.636 feet) high and 2.792 meters (9.160 feet) wide. they weigh 4,100 kilograms (9,039 pounds), each.
The transport has cruise speed of 700 kilometers per hour (435 miles per hour) and its maximum speed is 850 kilometers per hour (528 miles per hour). The service ceiling is 11,145 meters (36,565 feet). Mriya carries a maximum fuel load of 300,000 kilograms (661,387 pounds, or 98,567 U.S. gallons, Jet A-1), and has a practical range of 4,500 kilometers (2,796 miles). Its maximum range of 15,400 kilometers (9,569 miles).
The world’s heaviest airplane, Mriya is the only one in existence. It was built specifically to transport Buran. A second An-225 was partially constructed, but never finished.
Buran, the Soviet space shuttle, made one unmanned flight into orbit, 15 November 1988. It was destroyed 12 May 2002 when its hangar collapsed, killing eight Workers.
© 2015, Bryan R. Swopes