Recipe: take an An-124 Ruslan [NATO name: Condor] ... (which already has a larger max. gross weight than a C-5 Galaxy)
... then, to carry your "Shuttleski" around, insert fuselage plugs fore and aft of the wing carry-thru (including more landing gear struts and wheels), cut the wings off at the root and move them spanwise outwards, then extrapolate the wing roots back to the fuselage and add another engine on each side in the extrapolated spanwise (inboard-most) region. Add faired hard points to the top spine of the fuselage to carry something big, and change the vertical stabilizer from a single central panel to a split pair of 'em, each at the horizontal tail ends in an end-plated fashion (so Buran's wake doesn't blanket out the vertical tail's effectiveness).
Result: the An-225 Mriya [NATO name: Cossack], which at 1.3 million pounds max. gross weight is the heaviest aircraft ever in the world by a very large margin.
Two were built, but only one ever flew. That one sat rotting for years after the Soviet collapse, but was recently restored and is flying for revenue now.
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This page was last updated on 09/05/09 .