Only one AN225 was initially built. On 30NOV88 the airplane debuted. Maiden flight was just three weeks later and lasted 75 minutes. The Mriya had been created in only three and a half years as part of the Soviet space program. One of the tasks envisioned for the aircraft was the transportation of the space shuttle Buran and parts of the Energia launcher. Other tasks suited for the airplane included transportation of equipment for oil exploration or power plants to remote Siberia.
After the spectacular Western debut at the Paris Air Show in 1989, the Mriya faced a period of uncertainty following the break up of the Soviet Union. The aircraft which had broken over 100 flight records was mothballed and parked at Kiev for several years.
Market research indicated excellent demand for such large capacity. Several customers have been found in the USA especially since parts of launchers like the Delta and Atlas could be transported in the An-225. The completely assembled fuselage of a Boeing 737 could be fitted in the hold for instance. Against such demand, the estimated cost of resurrecting the AN
-225 line would found to be affordable at about USD 200 million. Time-wise too it was projected that the second example could be assembled in about one year's time and the third in about 2. Approximately 100hrs of flight is required for Russian certification. With the aircraft planned for extensive use in the USA, FAA certification is also required. Following on this we now have the above pictured aircraft in assembly and hopefully gracing the skies soon.
Sarfaroshi kii tamannaa ab hamaare dil mein hai, Dekhnaa hai zor kitnaa baazu-e-qaatil mein hai