Known as "the missile with a man in it," the stubby-winged Lockheed F-104 Starfighter was the first U.S. jet fighter in service to fly Mach 2, twice the speed of sound. Designed as a high-performance day fighter, the F-104 had excellent acceleration and top speed. It first flew on February 7, 1954.
While built for the U.S. Air Force, most Starfighters were flown by other countries, particularly Canada, Italy, Germany, and Japan. Many were built under license overseas.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) flew this F-104A for 19 years as a flying test bed and a chase plane. It was used to test the reaction controls later used on the North American X-15. This aircraft was the seventh F-104 built and was transferred to the Museum after its last flight, to Andrews Air Force Base, on August 26, 1975.