China to develop 'modern' version of the legendary Antonov An-225 in bid to use the world's biggest plane to launch satellites
It has been called the 'the largest and heaviest cargo plane in the world' and now, the legendary Antonov An-225 Mriya aircraft could soon take on a new mission.
The Airspace Industry Corporation of China (AICC) signed an agreement with the plane's creator, which, if approved, will allow the organization to design its own fleet that would launch commercial satellites into orbit.
However, the aerospace and defense firm would 'modernize' the craft in a fashion that would provide it with heavy lifting capabilities that could be 'greater than that of the US military'.
'The initial idea and early stage research of the An-225 started in 2009,' the president of AICC, Zhang Yousheng told Christian Borys with BBC Future.
'The official contact with Antonov began in 2011, and then from 2013 to 2016 was the acceleration phase of this project.'
Yousheng continued to explain to BBC that the program is working on a strategy that places a satellite on the back of an An-225 and launches it from no more than seven miles (12,000m) in the air.
If successful, this method would 'greatly reduce launch costs,' he told BBC.
I wouldn't trust any China-made machinery especially from a Chinese company with something