This is a model of the complete Spiral system on display. The high-speed 50-50 carrier aircraft would have returned to an airport after accelerating its combined payload to a velocity of about Mach 5-6. The actual Spiral spaceplane is mounted on top of the carrier's fuselage backed by a two-stage cylindrical rocket at its base. Spiral was a combination of aviation and rocket technology, a three-component craft made of a hypersonic booster-aircraft, a booster rocket and orbital aircraft. Similar to the American project, Dyna-soar, Spiral needed to be reusable, launchable from a variety of locations and able to be launched on short notice. Spiral was to be used for spaceborne reconnaissance, satellite inspection, and anti-satellite operations. The Spiral program lasted until September 1978 when the Soviets began designing a reusable space shuttle similar to the US space shuttle. Publication information: Image from the files of Asif Siddiqi. Image and caption from Challenge to Apollo: The Soviet Union and the Space Race, 1945- 1974 (NASA SP-2000-4408) by Asif A. Siddiqi. Please note that the image number assigned to this image is not an official NASA number. It is for GRIN database purposes only.