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Final Frontier Design and Starfighters Aerospace Complete System Definition Review

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
December 17, 2017
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SFA Director of Flight Operations Piercarlo Ciacchi prior to vehicle integration testing with the F-104. (Credit: Final Frontier Design)

NEW YORK, December 14, 2017 (FFD PR) — Starfighters Aerospace (SFA) and Final Frontier Design (FFD) are pleased to announce the completion of System Definition Review for integration of a space suit into the F-104 Starfighter aircraft. The review marks the first physical fitting of the FFD space suit in the F-104, along with a baseline definition of all systems required for flight. The review took place at Starfighter’s offices at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, in November 2017.

FFD’s space suit is a full pressure Intra Vehicular Activity (IVA) safety garment designed for wearer protection in case of a high-altitude emergencies. The suit used for the review was built in 2017 and included customized and unique interfaces designed to utilize vehicle life support equipment, including breathing oxygen, ventilation gas, parachute interfaces, and communications. The review included suit integration with the F-104 ejection seat, along with pilot assessment of vehicle control under pressurized conditions.

SFA Director of Flight Operations Piercarlo Ciacchi during integration testing. (Credit: Final Frontier Design)

The Lockheed F-104 is listed as the best “No Gravity Platform” according to NASA D-3380 documents, with up to 90 seconds of microgravity, speeds up to Mach 2.2, and altitudes above 85,000 ft. SFA currently owns and operates eight F-104s from the KSC Shuttle Landing Facility.

SFA’s Director of Flight Operations, Captain Piercarlo Ciacchi, said “ FFD’s space suit feels ready to fly! Lots of progresses have been done in these last 2 years of teamwork, we are looking forward to using it in our missions.”

FFD President Ted Southern and SFA Director of Flight Operations Piercarlo Ciacchi share congratulations on testing. (Credit: Final Frontier Design)

FFD’s President, Ted Southern, noted “After years of work we have established a viable architecture and concept of operations to help take the F-104 back to high altitudes. Our partners at Starfighters Aerospace recognize the basic operational need for pressure suits for high altitude flight, and we are proud to be working with them. It is an awesome vehicle.”

Further information can be found at and

3 responses to “Final Frontier Design and Starfighters Aerospace Complete System Definition Review”

  1. Jeff2Space says:

    The F-104 is still the best looking aircraft of all time. I’m happy to hear that they now have a modern suit so they can utilize the high altitude capabilities of this unique aircraft.

  2. Jacob Samorodin says:

    Remember the move, “The Right Stuff”? Chuck Yeager took a modified, boosted F-104 up to a record altitude, but the engines flamed out prematurely I recall, and the craft went into a flat spin and almost killed Chuck.

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