73 meters in length and with a wingspan of 117 meters, Stratolaunch Systems’ rocket-carrying aircraft Roc is — by some measures at least — the largest airplane ever built.

That didn’t happen by accident. Roc was purpose-built to do just one thing: carry rockets to an altitude of 35,000 feet, where Earth’s atmosphere is thin and rockets fly fast, then release those rockets to blast their way into orbit. Stratolaunch hoped to use Roc to lower

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