At the beginning of the [[1950s]], the Soviet Union's [[Aeroflot]] airline desperately needed a modern airliner with better capacity and performance than any Soviet plane then in operation. The design request was filled by the Tupolev OKB, which based their new airliner on its [[Tupolev Tu-16|Tu-16 'Badger']] strategic bomber. The wings, engines, and tail surfaces of the Tu-16 were retained in the airliner, but the new design adopted a wider, pressurised fuselage to accommodate 50 passengers. The first flight of first serial Tu-104 was on November 6, 1955 on [[Kharkiv]] plant in [[Ukraine]].
By the time production ceased in [[1960 in aviation|1960]], about 200 had been built. Aeroflot did not retire the Tu-104 from civil service until [[1981 in aviation|1981]]. [[Czech Airlines|CSA Czechoslovak Airlines]], the [[ Czech Republic|Czechoslovak]] national airline, bought a small number of Tu- 104As configured for 81 passengers.
Following its removal from civil service, several disbanded aircraft were transferred to the Soviet military, which used them as staff transports and to train [[cosmonaut]]s in [[zero gravity]].