Yakovlev Skylifter


Yakovlev Skylifter was a proposed air-launched vehicle concept from the late 1990s.

Yakovlev Skylifter was proposed as a large twin fuselage aircraft that could carry a 900,000 – 1 million lb payload. To minimize development and construction costs, Skylifter was going to use existing components and structures. The design would have used modified landing gear from the Antonov An-225, the outer wing sections from an Antonov AN-124 and the cockpit, nose and forward fuselage from the Yakovlev Yak-40 airliner.

Yakovlev Skylifter Air Launched Vehicle Picture

Features of the aircraft include:

– Twin boom assemblies support a pair of vertical stabilizers connected by a high-mounted horizontal stabilizer.

– Two tall vertical pods that would house the landing gear.

– The wing and fuselages would sit high above the runway. 

The Skylifter design had immense potential for carrying cargo around the world and could have functioned as a Space Launch Vehicle Launcher carrying a large spaceplane (23 ft high by 79 ft wide) below the wing and between the twin fuselages.

Did you know?

*  Antonov An-225 is currently the world’s largest aircraft and was designed by the Antonov Design Bureau for transporting the Soviet Space Shuttle Buran. It was an enlarged version of the An-124. 

*  In 1990s there were also proposals to use a version of the Antonov An-225 to launch the British HoTOL (Horizontal Take-Off and Landing).

* Using the Air Launch method Spaceshipone completed the first privately-funded human spaceflight on 21 June, 2004. Spaceshiptwo is now in development.


Antonov’s Heavy Transports: The An-22, An-124/225 And An-70 by Yefim Gordon, Dmitriy Komissarov
from Amazon.co.uk

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