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Antonov 225The Antonov An-225 Mriya (Dream, NATO reporting name: 'Cossack') is a strategic airlift cargo aircraft, designed by the Antonov Design Bureau in the 1980s.

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It is the world's heaviest aircraft. The design, built in order to transport the Buran orbiter, was an enlargement of the successful An-124 Ruslan. The An-225's name, Mriya  means "Dream" (Inspiration) in Ukrainian.

The first An-225 was completed in 1988 and a second An-225 has been partially completed. The one An-225 is in commercial operation with the Antonov Airlines carrying oversized payloads.

The Antonov An-225 was designed to airlift the Energia rocket's boosters and the Buran space shuttle for the Soviet space program. It was developed as a replacement for the Myasishchev VM-T. The An-225's original mission and objectives are almost identical to that of the United States' Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

The An-225 first flew on 21 December 1988. The aircraft was on static display at the Paris Air Show in 1989 and it flew during the public days at the Farnborough air show in 1990. Two aircraft were ordered, but only one An-225 (tail number UR-82060) was finished. It can carry ultra-heavy and oversize freight, up to 250,000 kg (550,000 lb) internally, or 200,000 kg (440,000 lb) on the upper fuselage. Cargo on the upper fuselage can be 70 metres (230 ft) long.

A second An-225 was partially built during the late 1980s for the Soviet space program. The second An-225 included a rear cargo door and a redesigned tail with a single vertical stabilizer. It was planned to be more effective for cargo transportation. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the cancellation of the Buran space program, the lone operational An-225 was placed in storage in 1994. The six Ivchenko Progress engines were removed for use on An-124s, and the second uncompleted An-225 airframe was also stored. The first An-225 was later re-engined and put into service.

By 2000, the need for additional An-225 capacity had become apparent, so the decision was made in September 2006 to complete the second An-225. The second airframe was scheduled for completion around 2008, then delayed. By August 2009, the aircraft had not been completed and work had been abandoned. In May 2011 Antonov CEO is reported to have said that the completion of a second An-225 Mriya transport aircraft with a carrying capacity of 250 tons requires at least $300 million, but if the financing is provided, its completion could be achieved in three years.

On 11 August 2009, the heaviest single cargo item ever sent via air freight was loaded onto the Antonov 225. At 16.23 metres (53.2 ft) long and 4.27 metres (14.0 ft) wide, the consignment–a generator for a gas power plant in Armenia and its loading frame–weighed in at a record 189.09 tonnes (416,900 lb). Also during 2009, the An-225 was painted in a new blue and yellow paint scheme, after Antonov ceased cooperation with AirFoyle and partnered with Volga-Dnepr in 2006.

In February 2010, the An-225 transported 108 tonnes of construction machinery from Japan to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic for quake-stricken Haiti.

On 11 June 2010, the An-225 carried the world's longest piece of air cargo, when it flew two new 42-meter wind turbine blades (test subjects) from Tianjin, China to Denmark.

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