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Photos: NASA's Amazing T-38 Supersonic Jet Planes

Discovery's STS-133 Crew and T-38 Jets

NASA/Frank Michaux

Space shuttle Discovery's STS-133 crew arrived on the Shuttle Landing Facility runway at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard four T-38 jets, on Sunday, Feb. 20. NASA plans to launch Discovery on Thursday, Feb. 24.

Mark Kelly in T-38 Training Jet

NASA

Astronaut Mark Kelly, STS-121 pilot, prepares for a flight in a NASA T-38 trainer jet at Ellington Field near Johnson Space Center.

T-38 Jets at the Shuttle Landing Facility

NASA/Kim Shiflett

High above NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the STS-135 crew members get ready to land their T-38 jets at the Shuttle Landing Facility. The STS-135 astronauts arrived at Kennedy at about 2:30 p.m. EDT on July 4 for final preparations for space shuttle Atlantis' STS-135 mission to the International Space Station.

Astronaut Higginbotham and T-38 Jet

NASA/JSC.

NASA astronaut Joan Higginbotham poses with a T-38 jet during a photo session.

Columbia Lands with T-38 Chase Plane Visible

NASA

The space shuttle Columbia riding "piggyback" on NASA 905, a 747 carrier aircraft, is only seconds away from landing on Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle landing facility, ending a 2,400-mile ferry flight from California on March 24, 1979. The T-38 chase plane at left is flown by Donald "Deke" Slayton, manager for the orbital fight test (OFT) program.

AVIATR Compared to T-38 Jet

NASA/Keri Bean/Michael J. Malaska

A comparison of AVIATR’s size with that of a NASA T-38N (left).

STS-121 Astronaut Crew Arrive at NASA Spaceport in T-38 Jets

SPACE.com/T. Malik.

STS-121 commander Steven Lindsey (at center with microphone) talks to reporters after he and his crew landed their T-38 jet aircraft at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 27, 2006.

Hubble Astronauts Set for Practice Countdown with T-38 Jets on Runway

NASA/Kim Shiflett

The STS-125 crew members prepare to speak to the media at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida after arriving in T-38 jets for Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test, or TCDT, activities. From left are, mission specialist Megan McArthur, pilot Gregory C. Johnson, mission specialist Mike Massimino, commander Scott Altman, and mission specialists Andrew Feustel, John Grunsfeld and Michael Good.

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Space.com Staff

Space.com is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, Space.com is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox, focusing on e-commerce. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.