The Soviet Winged Orbital Launch Vehicle, a visionary project by the Soviet Air Force, aimed for a horizontal takeoff/horizontal landing, reusable space launch system akin to conventional aircraft.
Developed by Mikoyan from 1960 to 1976, it featured a reusable hypersonic air-breathing booster, two expendable rocket stages, and the Spiral manned spaceplane.
Hindered by inadequate government funding, it only reached subscale flight tests by the mid-1970s. Development ceased in 1976, giving way to the Buran, a Soviet version of the U.S. space shuttle.
However, the concept saw a resurgence in the 1980s as the MAKS spaceplane, embodying technological evolution and human perseverance in aerospace innovation.