Next Cygnus Spacecraft Named After First African American Astronaut

Robert Henry Lawrence Jr.

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (Northrop Grumman PR) — Northrop Grumman will launch the NG-13 mission on February 9, 2020. The company’s Antares rocket will launch the Cygnus spacecraft from Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia with the 5-minute launch window opening at 5:39 p.m. ET.

Northrop Grumman is proud to name the NG-13 Cygnus spacecraft after former astronaut Robert Henry Lawrence Jr. It is the company’s tradition to name each Cygnus after an individual who has played a pivotal role in human spaceflight. Major Lawrence was selected in honor of his prominent place in history as the first African-American astronaut.

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GAO Review Recommends FAA Review of Space Support Vehicle Regulations

F-104's in flight. (Credit: Starfighters Aerospace)
F-104’s in flight. (Credit: Starfighters Aerospace)

A review by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has recommended the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) conduct a review of its regulations for space support vehicles used to train space tourists and  conduct reduced gravity experiments.

“The Secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOT) should direct the FAA Administrator to fully examine and document whether the FAA’s current regulatory framework is appropriate for space support vehicles and, if not, suggest legislative or regulatory changes, or both, as applicable,” the report states.

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San Jose State Students Developing CubeSat Launch Vehicle

spartan_spearA group of San Jose State University students are developing an air-launched booster capable of placing CubeSats into orbit.

Project Spartan Spear‘s goal is to build a rocket that would be launched by modified F-104 fighter jets operated by Starfighters, Inc., a company based in Clearwater, Fla. The launch vehicle would be capable of placing three 1U Cubesats or 1 3U Cubsat into orbit.

“Our goal is to create a fast and reliable launch vehicle that is cheaper than today’s options for delivering CubeSats into space,” the group says on its website. “Current forms of transportation for CubeSats can take several years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to take these miniature satellites into orbit. Our launch vehicle will be able to take CubeSats into orbit within a matter of months.”

On Jan. 15, the Silicon Valley Space Center will host Project Spartan Spear at Hacker Dojo in Mountain View, Calif. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. PST. Click here for tickets.











IFG Leads Florida Pathfinder Flights Project to Promote for Space Tourism

Starfighters
MIAMI (IFG PR) — InterFlight Global (IFG) has partnered with Starfighters Aerospace at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) to lead, design, develop and conduct a Space Tourism Point-to-Point Pathfinder set of flight missions using Starfighters’ supersonic F-104 jet aircraft. IFG intends to promote, develop, enhance and position Florida as the world’s leading Space Tourism hub.

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Starflighters Expands Fleet at KSC

The StarLab rocket hangs beneath the wing of a Starfighter jet recently during taxi testing. The rocket, about the size of an air-to-air missile, was built by the 4Frontiers company to launch experiments into space. Photo credit: NASA/Gianni M. Woods

By Steven Siceloff
NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center

The final pieces of a unique squadron of supersonic fighters arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday, Jan. 19, where they will be reassembled and put to work with a private company aiming to use them for research and microgravity training.

The new planes were part of a group of five F-104 fighters bought by Starfighters Inc. from the Italian Air Force. The company already had four of the aircraft, but that wasn’t enough for the company to pursue a number of different opportunities.

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Starfighters to Launch Suborbital Payloads From Cape Canaveral

Starfighters plans to use its growing fleet of F-104 fighter jets to launch payloads on suborbital flights from its base at the Kennedy Space Center. Under the plan, the Mach 2 jet would fly to an altitude of 60,000 feet and then fire off a 19-foot, 900-pound rocket with a payload attached, according to a NASA press release.

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Space Florida to Invest $1 Million to Support Reusable Suborbital Launch Provider – Updated

Edward Ellegood of the FLORIDA SPACErePORT says that the Space Florida board has been busy this week:

The Space Florida board approved the following investments: up to $1M in financial support for a reusable launch vehicle company; up to 30% of the estimated $2.9 million cost for Starfighters Aerospace to procure multiple F-104 jet aircraft from Italy; and $2 million over three years to match the FAA’s investment in research at a proposed Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has teamed with Space Florida to establish this Center at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport).

The suborbital company was not named, but my guess is that it is XCOR Aerospace. The company is building its first Lynx vehicle at its facility in Mojave, Calif. Florida has licensed spaceports at Cape Canaveral and in Jacksonville.

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Florida Residents Complete Starfighters Civilian Space Flight Training

Starfighters Aerospace Pilot Mike 'Smitty' Smith, Virginia Dickens, Terry Witt and lead pilot Rick 'Comrade' Svetkoff. (Photo Credit: Incredible Adventures)

INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES PRESS RELEASE

Two Florida residents have become the first to complete civilian space flight training in the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, the same supersonic jet used to prepare generations of astronauts for space travel. Terence Witt and his wife Virginia Dickens of Indialantic spent five days training with Starfighters Aerospace at Florida’s John F Kennedy Space Center.

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Train Like an Astronaut for Only $31K

f104_starfighter

PRESS RELEASE

Sarasota, FL, November 11, 2009 — You no longer have to be an astronaut to train for space at one of NASA’s premier space facilities. Incredible Adventures is teaming up with Starfighters Aerospace to offer a four day commercial space flight training program at NASA’s John F Kennedy Space Center, near Orlando, Florida. Flight Training is open to anyone who meets basic age, health and security clearance requirements.

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Space Flight Training Company to Operate at KSC

SPACE FLORIDA PRESS RELEASE

Today, NASA and Starfighters, Inc. announced the signing of a formal Space Act Agreement enabling Starfighters, a private aerospace company that operates high performance fighter aircraft, to fully utilize the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) to conduct flight operations providing commercial space flight training, support research and development, test and engineering for the benefit of the emerging commercial space industry, and to otherwise advance aerospace and space-related technology in Florida.

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