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The M-55 Geophysica is a dual turbofan aircraft produced by Myasishchev Design Bureau (MDB). The aircraft can carry heavy payloads of the order of 1500 kg. M-55 can operate at an altitude up to 21-22 km for about 5-6 hours. The cruise ground speed is about 750 km/h. M-55 has various bays where the instruments can be installed. The main bay is longer than 5 meters and very large instruments can be installed. The aircraft has a large reserve of electrical power for the instrumentation (60 KVA at 115 VAC and 3 KW at 27.5 VDC).

Flight parameters, necessary for the science mission, are regularly recorded by the aircraft.
The maximum runway length required is less than 1000 meters (typical 860/910 m) with a maximum take off weight of 24.000 Kg.
The M-55 is an all-weather aircraft. The ER2 and the M-55 Geophysica are the only operational stratospheric research aircraft in the world at the present time. The M-55 Geophysica exceeds the ER2 capabilities in payload, power supply, manoeuvrability and is less dependent on the ground conditions. The ER-2 would not be able to make measurements in small lee wave PSCs because it could not perform the necessary vertical up and down manoeuvres.
It has been presented to the Western scientific community and to the international press in several occasions: during the 2 Workshop ESF-APE in Rome in November 1993, during the international Aviation Show in Berlin in June 1994, and finally at the Aviation Show in Farnborough, United Kingdom, in 1994.