Monday, May 9, 2011

Jets on the Way to KSC

A Starfighters Inc. F-104 in action. They'll fly out of the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center.

Florida Today reports that Starfighters Inc. has more jets on the way to Kennedy Space Center.

"The big thing is that these are a newer generation aircraft, vintage 1980," Starfighters Inc. President and Chief Pilot Rick Svetkoff said. "They were the last ones off the assembly line."

The company makes its home in the 10-year-old Reusable Launch Vehicle Hangar beside the 15,000-foot shuttle landing runway. The F-104 jets can fly above 70,000 feet at twice the speed of sound. NASA and commercial space companies have used the four Starfighters to test high-performance equipment used on the space shuttle, as well as telemetry equipment and a new digital camera.

The article concludes:

As the shuttle program ends, the commercial space industry has become more interested in testing space hardware.

"A lot of new commercial space imperatives are very much in play now," Svetkoff said. "The commercial market is actually starting to grow. The space program is not ending. I think the gap is going to be picked up by the commercial side."

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