The MiG-105 was part of a program known as the Spiral : a manned test vehicle to explore low-speed handling and landing. A Soviet project to create an orbital space plane. This was originally conceived in response to the X-20 Dyna-Soar military space project and may have been influenced by contemporary manned lifting body research being conducted by NASA’s Flight Research Center in California. The program was also known as EPOS (Russian acronym for Experimental Passenger Orbital Aircraft). Work on this project finally began in 1965, two years after Dyna-Soar’s cancellation. The project was halted in 1969, to be briefly resurrected in 1974 in response to the U.S. Space Shuttle Program. The test vehicle made its first subsonic free-flight test in 1976, taking off under its own power from an old airstrip near Moscow. It was flown by pilot A. G. Festovets to the Zhukovskii flight test center, a distance of 19 miles. Flight tests, totaling eight in all, continued sporadically until 1978. The actual space plane project was cancelled when the decision was made to instead proceed with the Buran project.