Summary Box: Huge plane to launch spaceships

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IT’S ABOUT SIZE: Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and aerospace pioneer Burt Rutan are building the biggest plane ever to haul cargo and astronauts into space.

THE DETAILS: Plans call for a twin-fuselage aircraft with wings longer than a football field to carry a rocket high into the atmosphere and drop it, avoiding the need for a launch pad and the expense of additional rocket fuel.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: It’s the latest of several ventures fueled by technology tycoons clamoring to write America’s next chapter in spaceflight.