Paul Allen built the world’s biggest plane. Does anyone need it?

Stratolaunch is a very big airplane, but it has never flown. With a 385-foot wing span and two fuselages, the plane dwarves even the US Air Force’s massive C-5. It’s expected to take flight this fall, three years later than Stratolaunch’s main backer, Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen, forecast when the project began in 2011.

But the real question isn’t “what is Stratolaunch?” It’s, “why?”

This very big plane was designed by aerospace icon Burt Rutan to carry rockets high...

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