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Myasishchev, Vladimir Mikhailovich
Soviet Chief Designer 1951-1960 of OKB-23. Developed innovative M-4, M-50 bombers, Buran cruise missiles, and VKA spaceplane. Bureau merged with Chelomei, 1960. Later Director of TsAGI. Regained his own design bureau just before his death.

Born: 1902-09-28. Died: 1978-10-14.

Chief Designer 1951-1960 of OKB-23. Developed innovative bomber, cruise missile, and spaceplane designs. Later Director of TsAGI, and regained his own design bureau just before his death.

Stalin's response to the American post-war nuclear threat was authorization to begin development of means of nuclear attack of the United States. Veteran aircraft designer Tupolev was tasked with development of an intercontinental bomber. After initial study Tupolev reported that it would not be possible to develop an intercontinental bomber using jet engines; his Tu-95 would use German-designed turboprops. However another designer, Myasishchev, claimed to be able to design an intercontinental jet bomber. Accordingly the Central Committee decree on 24 March 1951 created the OKB-23 Myasishchev design bureau.

Myasishchev managed to complete the first prototype 103M (M-4 Bear) bomber ten months after go-ahead (compared with four years for the B-52). The 103M represented a tremendous increase in Soviet technology: altitude was increased by 50%, range doubled, and takeoff mass was four times greater than any previous Soviet aircraft.

The United States pursued development of the B-52 intercontinental jet bomber and the Navaho cruise missile while declining to develop ballistic missiles. This difference with the Soviet bomber/ballistic missile approach led Academician Keldysh of the Academy of Sciences to from a group that raised the question of Soviet development of a similar long-range unpiloted aircraft. A government decree on 20 May 1954 authorized the Myasishchev aircraft design bureau to proceed with full-scale development of the Buran trisonic intercontinental cruise missile. The development of unstoppable ICBM's made intercontinental cruise missiles obsolete. Korolev's R-7 ICBM completed its first successful test flight in August. Buran was being prepared for its first flight when Myasishchev's project was cancelled on November 1957.

After the cancellation, Myasishchev continued to pursue use of the M-42 cruise stage in aviation research and space exploration. In 1958 he appealed to both Khrushchev and Minister of Defence of Malinovskiy to support continued development. At this time Myasishchev was developing the first Soviet supersonic bomber, the M-50. On the basis of this immense delta-winged vehicle Myasishchev proposed the RSS-52 aerospace vehicle – launch of the M-42 from an M-50 bomber. In the United States, the X-15 was being developed to answer analogous questions. However due to the expense and technical problems, Myasishchev was unable to convince the leadership to approve the RSS-52.

In December 1959 a government resolution was issued for design of manned spaceplanes. Myasishchev collaborated with Korolev in designing the M-48/VKA spacecraft. OKB-23 also designed a launch vehicle for the second phase of the program - a three-stage vehicle with a total lift-off thrust of 980 metric tons.

In October 1960 Kremlin intrigues led to Myasishchev's design bureau being dissolved. OKB-23 became Filial 1 of Chelomei's OKB-52 and all work on the VKA-23 was stopped. Myasishchev left to become head of TsAGI (Central Hydrodynamics Institute).

In 1976 Myasishchev was allowed to form a new unrelated design bureau as a kind of ‘skunk works' for advanced projects (EMZ Myasishchev - V M Myasishchev Experimental Machine-Building Plant). This group was responsible for the M-17 high-altitude aircraft, designed to intercept and shoot down high-altitude intelligence balloons being floated by the CIA across the Soviet Union. Myasishchev also oversaw design of the VM-T Atlant aircraft, a modification of his original M-4 bomber used to transport the Buran orbiter and Energia core propellant tanks from the factory to Baikonur. He died before seeing it fly.


Myasishchev bureau Russian manufacturer of aircraft, rockets and spacecraft. Myasishchev Design Bureau, Russia.

Country: Russia. Agency: Myasishchev bureau. Bibliography: 192, 5815.

1902 September 28 - .
1951 March 24 - . LV Family: Buran M.
1953 January - . LV Family: R-12. Launch Vehicle: EKR.
1953 April - . Launch Vehicle: Buran M, Burya La-350.
1954 May 20 - . Launch Vehicle: Buran M, Burya La-350.
1956 During the Year - . Launch Vehicle: Buran M, Burya La-350.
1957 June 30 - .
1957 November - . LV Family: Buran M. Launch Vehicle: Buran M-40.
1958 During the Year - . LV Family: Buran M. Launch Vehicle: Buran RSS-52.
1958 June 1 - .
1959 September - .
1960 April - .
April 1960 - . Launch Vehicle: UR-200.
1960 September - .
1960 October 1 - .
1960 October 3 - . Launch Vehicle: UR-200.
1960 November 1 - .
1962 November 1 - . Launch Vehicle: N1.
1978 October 14 - .

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