(Russian: ‘rocket plane’)
Early Soviet version of a space shuttle that was flight tested in 1961 and 1963 but cancelled in 1965. It had delta wings and a reusable launch vehicle. Raketoplan, designed to carry a crew of two on 24-hour missions, was conceived as a military spacecraft that could gather intelligence and also intercept, investigate, and destroy US satellites. The concept was later expanded to include scientific missions and even flights to the Moon. The advanced prototype, Raketoplan Chelomei, was flown in March 1963 and travelled 1 900 km, reaching a maximum altitude of 400 km.
Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.