AKA: VKA Myasishchev 1957. Status: Study 1957. Gross mass: 1,000 kg (2,200 lb). Height: 3.50 m (11.40 ft). Span: 3.80 m (12.40 ft).
Chief designers Myasishchev and Korolev had known each other well since World War II, when they were in the same sharashka (prison design bureau in the Soviet Gulag). They got along well and informally conducted studies in support of each other's projects. After Sputnik was launched Myasishchev began design for Korolev of a piloted vehicle for launch by Korolev's R-7 ICBM. This diminutive single-crew star-shaped spacecraft was called the VKA (aero-space vehicle). It would be maneuvered within the atmosphere by two high rudders. Its faceted shape was reminiscent of the much later F-117 Stealth Fighter and the concurrent Armstrong-Whitworth Nonweiler Waverider. The faceting of this and subsequent Myasishchev designs may have indicated a refined application of Nonweiler shock-wave riding principles. However they may also have been due to the necessity of calculating hypersonic aerodynamic characteristics by breaking the shape into a series of planes, or limitations in fabricating the heat shield materials. The much later F-119 flew faceted because the computational problem of an aerodynamically optimum rounded vehicle (in relation to radar reflection in this case, as opposed to hypersonic aerodynamics) could not be solved during development of the aircraft. These early informal studies were superseded by later officially-sanctioned designs.
Crew Size: 1.