The State Aviation Service of Ukraine has extended the life span of the An-225 Mriya heavy transport aircraft from 25 to 45 years. The director of the An-124 and An-225 program at the Antonov state enterprise, Hennadii Silchenko, announced this to reporters, the CFTS correspondent reports.

The relevant supplement to its certificate was issued on December 16. At the same time, the service life of the aircraft was increased from 8,000 to 20,000 flight hours and 8,000 landings.

As reported, the first An-225 Mriya airplane was built in 1988. It is intended mainly for transporting the Buran shuttle spacecraft from the factory of manufacture to reserve aerodromes and transporting Energiya space launch vehicles to the Baikonur cosmodrome (Kazakhstan). The aircraft was also intended for use as an airborne platform for space launches.

Construction of a duplicate of the An-225 Mriya airplane started in 1987, when its airframe was assembled, particularly its fuselage and wings. According to some reports, the airplane was 70% completed.

The An-225 Mriya is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the aircraft with the highest standard maximum take-off weight and the aircraft on which the highest number of flight records have been set. It is unique in terms of its take-off weight (600 tons), cargo carrying capacity (up to 250 tons), dimensions, and flight range (more than 14,000 kilometers). Its cargo compartment can hold 16 universal 10-ton containers or up to 80 cars. It can transport cargos with diameters of 7-10 meters and lengths of up to 70 meters, space shuttles, etc. on its external frame.

The Antonov state enterprise’s president and chief designer Dmytro Kiva said in November 2012 that the second An-225 Mriya airplane would be ready for operation within 2-3 years. The Antonov Airlines’ Executive Director Kostiantyn Lushakov stated in May 2011 that completion of the An-225 Mriya required at least USD 300 million.