Paul Allen’s Stratolaunch rolls out the “Roc” – the world’s largest airplane – for public viewing on Wednesday. Named after an ancient bird said to be large enough to carry an elephant, the Stratolaunch is intended for use as an airborne launch pad for space payloads.

“Stratolaunch is the world’s largest aircraft by wingspan and is the largest all-composite plane ever built. Utilizing six Boeing 747 engines for a payload capacity of over 500,000 lbs. and an operational range of approximately 2,000 nautical miles, Stratolaunch is capable of delivering payloads to multiple orbits and inclinations in a single mission,” says the company launched by the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft.

“Stratolaunch’s reusability and air-launch capabilities enable us to take an airport-style approach to operations for launch services. Stratolaunch will take off from a runway, rather than a logistically vulnerable fixed range, which allows us to avoid hazards such as inclement weather, airborne traffic and heavy marine activity. Stratolaunch’s airborne launch platform significantly reduces the risk of costly delays or cancellations.”

The plane was built at the Mojave Air & Space Port in Mojave, Calif.

“We aim to be fully operational by the end of this decade,” the company says.

We’ve got two video reports:

Watch photos of the rollout at:

Watch the concept video at:

Learn more about the company at:

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