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Paul Allen hopes ‘ginormous’ plane flies soon

Paul Allen with Stratolaunch plane
Paul Allen stands on the wing of the giant Stratolaunch plane during a tour of the hangar in Mojave, Calif., where the craft is being assembled. The plane’s tail is in the background. (Paul Allen via Twitter)

The world’s biggest airplane is staying on track to take to the air for the first time by the end of this year, according to Paul Allen, who made billions of dollars as Microsoft’s co-founder and is now spending millions of dollars on the Stratolaunch air-launch system.

Allen provided an update on Stratolaunch and dropped hints about future space endeavors today during an interview at the University of Washington’s Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering, where professors, students and VIPs celebrated Allen’s $40 million gift to UW’s 50-year-old computer science program,

Most of the interview was devoted to Allen’s reflections on how computer technology has changed since he and his high-school friends took advantage of the UW’s computer lab on the sly in 1971. But the billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist also was clear about his commitment to the Stratolaunch project, which was unveiled back in 2011.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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