Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
MEDIA ADVISORY: 12-07
KSC Hosts Private Jet's Suborbital
Media are invited to NASA's Kennedy
Space Center on April 17 to view the flight of a privately
operated F-104 jet aircraft on the first in a series of
pathfinder test missions from the space shuttle runway.
Starfighters Inc. of Clearwater, Fla., will perform the
flights to help in assessing suborbital space launch
trajectories from the Shuttle Landing Facility and paving
the way for future commercial space tourism and research
flights from the facility.
Once the plane has landed at about 10:30 a.m., media will
hear brief comments from KSC Director Bill Parsons and F-104
Pilot Rick Svetkoff. Media also will have the opportunity to
perform one-on-one interviews and view the aircraft up close
at the Shuttle Landing Facility, also known as the SLF.
"This is a key step toward expanding routine use of the SLF
by non-NASA flight projects, including commercial suborbital
and orbital space launch vehicles," said KSC Director Bill
NASA and Starfighters Inc. have signed a cooperative Space
Act Agreement to enable the firm's F-104 aircraft to fly
simulated suborbital flight missions from the spaceport's
15,000-foot runway. The flights will gather data to support
NASA's assessment of expanding uses of the SLF.
The first two F-104 flights are planned to take place on
April 17. Both flights will generate test data to validate
sonic boom assumptions about the potential impacts of
suborbital and orbital commercial spaceflight from the SLF.
NASA is assessing the environmental impact of such flights.
A Starfighter F-104 will take off from the SLF on a
northerly trajectory, following the flight path anticipated
for suborbital vehicles which may horizontally launch from
the SLF. The aircraft will bank east and head out over the
Atlantic, where it will climb to an altitude and distance
representative of where vehicles accelerating on a
suborbital parabolic trajectory will break the sound
Ground stations will record any discernible sonic boom noise
at several locations along the coast. This will assess the
noise impact of such flights, both during launches and
return flights to a landing at the spaceport.
Future test flights are planned to investigate
communications and telemetry systems, and to support the
validation of operating procedures that may be used in
conducting future suborbital missions and related training
The agreement between NASA and Starfighters is the latest in
a series of pathfinder projects that have been conducted at
the SLF since late 2005 to investigate the expansion of uses
and users for the shuttle runway. NASA's role in such
demonstrations and anticipated future uses is limited to
serving as the host site.
Non-government aircraft using NASA's SLF operate in
accordance with applicable Federal Aviation Administration
rules and procedures.
Media interested in attending the event must be at the KSC
News Center by 9:30 a.m. for transportation to the SLF.
Media already at KSC attending a different event will be
provided transportation to the SLF.
Permanently badged media interested in attending this event
should contact the KSC News Center (321-867-2468) by close
of business April 16. Media without KSC credentials should
submit their accreditation request via the online
accreditation Web site at:
Media must be properly dressed in long pants and closed
shoes with low heels. Sleeveless shirts are not allowed.
For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web,
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