The Starfury fighter is a fictional vessel used by Earthforce, the military branch of the Earth Alliance, in the science fiction television series Babylon 5. The computer-generated imagery (CGI) model was first seen in the opening episode of the first season, "Midnight On The Firing Line" which first aired in the United States in January 1994, and has essentially appeared in every episode thereafter.

It also appears in the later, and short lived, Crusade television series, the special edition (not original) version of the pilot movie, The Gathering, the TV movies In the Beginning, Thirdspace, The River of Souls and A Call to Arms, The Lost Tales (the first in an anthology series which was to be released on DVD but was aborted due to funding issues), plus a number of written short stories and novels based in the same fictional universe.

The Starfury is the main fighter in the Earth-Alliance military. It has extreme agility and is able to do a full 360 turn in under a second. It is the best fighter of the younger races, with the probable exception of the Minbari (who have had spaceflight for several centuries longer than humans have). The Starfury has speed, firepower, and considerable agility.

Created after Warner Brothers began production of the television series, the initial design of the Starfury was a collaboration between Steve Burg (a freelance designer on the show) who created a number of possible concepts and Ron Thornton (co-founder of Foundation Imaging) who refined and detailed the Lightwave models. Due to the high number expected to appear on screen, this refining of the potential and final designs was necessary in order to keep the polygon count of the vehicles' computer models as small as possible due to the limited processing power (and memory) of the Amiga computers used for rendering animation sequences during the first season of Babylon 5.

Located at the end of each of the four struts (the space-only craft's "wings"), are two large thrusters, one facing forward and one back. Attached to the housing assembly for these are two additional smaller attitude control thrusters. While creating the design it was envisaged that the engines would work in a similar way to those of the Harrier, in that the output could be sent to any one of the four nozzles. The smaller maneuvering ones have about 15 to 20% of the thrust of the larger Because of the positioning of these 16 thrusters and the use of computer animation, as opposed to using miniatures and more established animation techniques such as motion control, the Starfury was able to be depicted as an extremely agile fighter.

Unbeknownst to the producers of the show at the time it was an intentional homage to what Thornton and Burg felt was the excellent and under-utilised design ideas seen in the Gunstar from the 1984 movie, The Last Starfighter, which was created by their close friend Ron Cobb. The final shape of the Starfury was also influenced by an earlier (unused) design created by Steve Burg for the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

This page was last edited on 31 May 2018, at 03:35 (UTC).
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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