Design started in 1943 by Clarence L. "Kelly" Johnson. The goal was to have it operational in 180 days and it was completed in 143 days.
The cockpit was a large teardrop style that afforded the pilot excellent views. In the reconnaissance version of the P-80 Shooting Star the gun sight was replaced by camera switches.
There was a red band painted on the early models of the P-80 that signified where the turbine was, and from that point the fuselage could be removed for maintenance.
The intakes were mounted low on the fuselage which lead to problems of foreign objects being sucked in, especially on rough runways.
Pilots of the P-80 Shooting Stars requested that additional fuel be added to allow for greater range. Some models had the fuel tanks added to the wing tips, and even later models under the wings.