Originally Posted by BlackHawkDownUnder
Yeah, but Space Shuttles are much lighter! Plus hard work launching it as my rubber won't grip well on Ozone. ;-)
Much lighter is a relative term. The empty shuttle is only 60 tons lighter than an empty Antonov An-225, which is the heaviest aircraft ever built to date.
The shuttle, though smaller, has a ceramic tile skin which adds tons (pun intended) of weight. Just think about how heavy a box of 13 ceramic tiles is at your local Home Depot. Now multiply that weight by a surface area roughly half the size of a 747.
That's some serious bulk.
Of course, if you add the fuel tank (empty) and the boosters, which would be required to make it able to actually take off (and more comparable to the An-225), it ends up outweighing the An-225 by roughly 100 tons. Without those items, it would be like removing the engines and fuel tanks from the An-225.
Fill both aircraft with their maximum fuel and payloads and the shuttle will outweigh the An-225 by over 1000 tons.